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May 2020 Trade Bulletin

Highlights of This Month’s Edition

  • ​Bilateral trade: In Q1 2020, U.S. goods trade deficit with China decreased to $53.9 billion as the COVID-19 outbreak led to dramatic reductions in Chinese production and U.S. consumer spending; for full year 2019, the U.S. services trade surplus with China was $37.9 billion, a 2.3 percent fall from 2018.
  • Bilateral policy issues: Two new final rules from the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security strengthen controls over and scrutiny of technology exports to China that may support military applications; a joint letter by the SEC and PCAOB warns of disclosure and financial risks associated with investments in emerging markets, particularly China.
  • Quarterly review of China’s economy: China’s economy shrank 6.8 percent in Q1 2020; the Chinese government moves to shore up small- and medium-sized enterprises, while households struggle; the official unemployment rate reaches a record 6.2 percent, but unofficial estimates place it at 20 percent or higher.
  • Policy trends in China’s economy: Bank of Gansu becomes the seventh distressed bank in the past year to receive government assistance; China’s new plans to protect intellectual property restate familiar commitments and remain ambiguous on implementation.