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China's Trade Surplus Reaches Record High


China's trade surplus reached a new record one-month high in October of over $27 billion even as export growth slowed and imports picked up speed. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing that the politically sensitive trade gap comes as China's major trading partners prepare to negotiate with the Asian giant.

China's customs office said Monday the October trade surplus grew to just over $27 billion, an all-time record monthly high.

China's trade surplus has grown by leaps and bounds, sparking complaints from its major trading partners that the Chinese economy is not open or fair and could have an unstable effect on world markets.

China is due to hold talks on its currency and other trade issues with its largest trading partner, the European Union, later this month, and with its second largest trading partner, the United States, in December.

The head of the EU's Delegation in China, Serge Abou, on Monday said overall trade relations were quite good. He then listed the areas where the EU still had many problems trading with China.

"In the intellectual property, in safety [of] product, in opening the part of the market, of the Chinese market, which are still not fully opened, in welcoming our investment, in developing internal market in China, in helping the trade imbalances by the way of some monetary policies - all that," Abou said.

The record trade surplus is likely to increase pressure on China to further appreciate its currency, the yuan. Critics say this is undervalued by up to 40 percent, making Chinese exports cheaper and so fueling the trade surplus.

Beijing says it is trying to rein in excessive investment in exports and encourage domestic consumption of imports.

Although both exports and imports increased in October, China's official Xinhua news agency reported that export Growth had slowed by half a percent, while import growth had increased by more than nine percent.

Xinhua said this showed the government's efforts to improve the trade gap were "beginning to pay off".

However, China's trade surplus grew by 59 percent since January, suggesting foreign complaints will continue.