China exports saw biggest fall in three years in February

The world's two largest economies are locked in a trade war since Trump imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium from China

Exports to the US China's biggest trading partner, fell 14.1 per cent from a year earlier to USD52.3 billion in the first two months of 2019, customs data showed yesterday. "We must not let them fool us into thinking this new "law" is anything other than a shiny object that will do nothing to stop Chinese state-directed actors' continued assault on U.S. companies' intellectual property and trade secrets", Rubio said.

China's foreign trade of goods fell 13.8 percent year on year in February to 266.36 billion US dollars, customs data showed Friday.

USA stocks dropped with the dollar on Friday, after a report showed that US hiring unexpectedly tumbled in February with the economy adding just 20,000 jobs.

It may be that commodity imports are a lagging indicator and will start to weaken in coming months, especially if China's export-orientated manufacturing industries continue to struggle.

The decline was also partly because many exporters had brought forward their shipments to January in anticipation of the nine-day Lunar New Year holiday in February.

Trump made the comments Friday as he left the White House to tour tornado damage in the southern US state of Alabama.

Exports to Europe decreased 15.9 percent to US$2 billion and exports to Japan were down 4.4 percent to US$1.54 billion, the MOF said.

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Optimism about a rapid resolution of the months-long US-China trade war was undercut by conflicting comments out of Washington and Beijing, sending global stock markets on a downward slide on Friday.

While China runs the risk of Xi leaving a summit empty-handed if details are not nailed down, Branstad said that USA officials want there to be some flexibility.

Last month the US President had said that he and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are planning to meet at his Florida resort in Mar-a-Lago to give a final shape to the trade deal, which is being negotiated between the two countries for past several months now.

Imports fell 5.2% and the figures sent Asia stock markets sharply lower. For the Chinese, any summit would basically be a signing ceremony, it said.

For the first two months of the year, crude imports were 10.8 percent higher than for the same period last year.

The economic superpowers have been locked in a trade battle since last summer, striking out with steep tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way trade, which is beginning to sap economic growth and business confidence.

Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan had on Tuesday said the negotiation process was very "difficult and taxing" with "lots left to do", but that breakthroughs had been made in several areas.

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