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China's June trade surplus hits new high       Send a link to a friend

[July 11, 2007]  BEIJING  (AP) -- China's monthly trade surplus soared to a new record high in June, according to government figures reported Tuesday, adding to pressure on Beijing to close its politically explosive trade gap.

The surge came despite government efforts to rein in China's booming exports and mounting pressure in the United States for punitive measures if Beijing fails to show results.

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The June trade surplus rose to $26.9 billion, up more than 85 percent from the year-earlier period, the country's Customs agency said on its online site.

That pushed the total surplus for the first half of the year to $112.5 billion, breaking the symbolic $100 billion barrier for the first time, the agency said.

Exports in July soared by 21.7 percent to $179.6 billion, while imports grew 14.2 percent to $76.4 billion, the customs agency said. It said the monthly trade gap was an 85.5 percent increase over the year-earlier period.

The Chinese government insists it is not actively pursuing a trade surplus and has tried to cool the boom.

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The government has repealed rebates of value-added taxes for exports and has imposed taxes on some goods such as steel. But demand for low-cost Chinese goods has stayed strong, while import growth has been hampered by government efforts to contain a boom in construction and investment that it worries could cause financial problems.

Critics of Beijing's trade record say the country's currency controls are partly to blame for the mounting surpluses. They say China's yuan is kept undervalued, giving exporters an unfair price advantage.

Some U.S. lawmakers have called for legislation that would impose punitive tariffs or other controls on Chinese imports if Beijing fails to take faster action to let the yuan rise in value.

[Associated Press]


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