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Chinese exports to US drop 12 percent

New figures show that Chinese exports to the United States decreased in 2019, though a sizable trade deficit between the two countries still remains.

Data released from Chinese Customs reveal that in 2019, China had a $298.5 billion trade surplus with the U.S., down 12.5 percent from a record 322.8 billion in 2018, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The deficit was lowered in large part to the trade war initiated by President Trump that has stretched on for nearly two years. The U.S.’s deficit would have decreased further, but Beijing retaliated with tariffs of its own, causing American imports to China to fall 21 percent in 2019, according to the Journal.

With the first phase of a new trade deal between Washington and Beijing expected to be signed Wednesday, America’s deficit could fall even more in 2020.

Trump has agreed to lower the 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods, while China has said that it will aim to increase the amount of American goods it purchases by $200 billion the next two years from 2017 levels, the Journal reports.

“If fully implemented, it will make a difference,” Myron Brilliant, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said told the paper. 

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