The Latest: China '18 trade surplus with US at record $323B

In this Jan. 1, 2019, photo, a worker pulls a roll of fabric at a dyeing factory in Hangzhou in east China's Zhejiang province. China's trade growth slowed in 2018 as a tariff battle with Washington heated up and global consumer demand weakened. Exports rose 7.1 percent, customs data showed Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, down from the 7.9 percent reported earlier for 2017. Import growth declined to 12.9 percent from the previous year's 15.9 percent. (Chinatopix via AP)
In this Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, photo, workers moor a container ship at a port in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province. China's trade growth slowed in 2018 as a tariff battle with Washington heated up and global consumer demand weakened. Exports rose 7.1 percent, customs data showed Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, down from the 7.9 percent reported earlier for 2017. Import growth declined to 12.9 percent from the previous year's 15.9 percent. (Chinatopix via AP)

BEIJING — The Latest on China-U.S. trade and the tariffs battle between the two biggest economies (all times local):

11:55 a.m.

China's politically sensitive trade surplus with the United States surged to a record $323.3 billion in 2018 as a tariff battle with Washington intensified.

Customs data released Monday show exports rose 11.3 percent to $478.4 billion despite President Donald Trump's punitive tariffs in a fight over Chinese technology ambitions. Imports of American goods rose just 0.7 percent over 2017. That reflects the impact of Beijing's retaliatory tariffs and encouragement to importers to buy more from non-U.S. suppliers.

However, the data show December exports to U.S. contracted 3.5 percent compared with year ago as Trump tariff hikes hit.

China's global exports rose 7.1 percent to $2.5 trillion, down from the 7.9 percent rate reported earlier for 2017. Imports rose 12.9 percent to $2.1 trillion, down from the previous year's 15.9 percent.

The country's global trade surplus was $352 billion.

___

10:30 a.m.

China's government reports 2018 exports rose 7.1 percent as a trade battle with Washington intensified, while imports were up 12.9 percent.

Monday's announcement comes as Beijing tries to reverse a decline in economic growth while facing a potential fall-off in American orders for Chinese goods following President Donald Trump's tariff hikes in the fight over China's technology ambitions.

Chinese exporters also face pressure from cooling consumer demand in other global markets.

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