14 July, 2017
Imports were up 17.2 percent year-on-year - compared with an expected increase of 14.5 percent - to $153.83 billion, lifting the trade surplus to $42.76 billion.
China's consistent USA trade surplus levels have left it vulnerable to accusations of currency manipulation, particularly given the fact that the yuan fell 6.6% against the dollar a year ago, its biggest decline since 1994.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on July 5 that China hadn't done enough to pressure its neighbor, after Pyongyang successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile.
Exports rose 11.3% in June from a year earlier, following growth of 8.7% in May, the General Administration of Customs said Thursday.
Exports of steel products fell 2.4% to 6.81 million tonnes from the previous month, according to Reuters calculations based on the data.
On trade with North Korea, Huang said growth in the first half was driven by exports of labor-intensive products not on the United Nations' embargo list.
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USA president Donald Trump has criticized China's ties with the North Korean government, saying its economic interests undermined its ability to challenge president Kim Jong-un's totalitarian rule.
China announced in February the suspension of coal imports from the North, striking a blow at a major source of income for the hermit state.
The growth bilateral trade "should not be used as basis for questioning China's solemn attitude towards the implementation of the Security Council's resolutions", Huang Songping, a spokesman for Chinese Customs, told reporters in Beijing.
"Trade between China and North Korea grew nearly 40 per cent in the first quarter".
Huang said the price fluctuation of commodities could also potentially boost the trade figure as measured by value. Imports have fallen since March, when they declined 36.5 percent, he said. The surplus with the United States was China's largest since October 2015. "But we are skeptical that the current pace of imports can be sustained for much longer given the increasing headwinds to China's economy from policy tightening".
But many North Korea analysts suggest China will not take any action that could seriously undermine the regime because Beijing's top priority is stability.