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Is Trump Serious About Trade War? China's Leaders Hunt for Answers

China's trade surplus with the rest of the world vanished in March, but some economists were quick to ascribe that to seasonal quirks in the data, predicting that it would soon reappear.

Sales of new energy vehicles, mainly comprising electric and hybrid vehicles, jumped by over 117% year on year to 68,000 units last month. In recent years, fruitful achievements have been made in the pragmatic cooperation between China and Barbados - the China-Barbados mutual visa waiver agreement came into effect; the Sam Lord Castle Hotel Project officially commenced; the Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium was thoroughly rehabilitated with China's aid and handed over to the Government of Barbados; two Chinese medical teams [were] stationed successfully at the Q.E.H; more than 2,500 people registered at the Confucius Institute at U.W.I.

A week after escalating tensions by threatening tariffs on an additional $100 billion of Chinese products, Trump said last Thursday the two countries ultimately may end up levying no new tariffs on each other.

Exports and imports both posted double-digit growth.

Honda's sales fell by 13% to 97,587 units in March with the brand hindered by engine problems which forced it to temporarily suspend sales of CRV and Civic models produced at its Dongfeng Honda Automobile joint venture last month.

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For the first quarter as a whole, China's exports grew a hearty 14.1 percent from a year earlier.

Allan Chau, the general manager of a Chinese factory making precision metal parts for United States customers, is still calling it a "proposed" trade war, but that has not stopped him from planning for the worst.

"We believe export growth will slow due to yuan appreciation and rising trade tensions ..." According to a study conducted by Purdue University, soybean exports to China could drop dramatically if China chooses to impose a 25 percent tariff on US soybeans.

For Jan-March, imports rose a strong 18.9 percent on-year.

Xi said in a speech to participating naval officers that the People's Liberation Army should persevere in the development of its marine forces, build modern systems of maritime combat and improve its capacity in diversified military missions. China and India together accounted for 17 per cent of the world oil consumption a year ago and are also the world's second and third largest oil consumers, respectively.

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Imports of commodities continued to lead the way in March as manufacturers replenished inventories ahead of a seasonal pick-up in demand.

China's exports rode a global trade boom past year, expanding at the fastest pace since 2013 and serving as one of the key drivers behind the economy's forecast-beating expansion.

Of the 1,500 or so metal parts made in Chau's plant, including needles for espresso machines to puncture coffee capsules, he says around 200 could be hit by the proposed U.S. tariffs that stand to affect US$50 billion (S$66 billion) worth of Chinese goods.

President Donald Trump has approved a possible tariff hike on $50 billion of Chinese goods in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. China, Ma said, would "not hesitate to protect our core interests".

China is nervous, and at the same time their own companies, like Alibaba and Tencent, are pushing for reforms because they want to be able to invest in the United States, Manning said.

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Hi-tech products have been among its fastest growing export segments.

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