China's trade surplus with U.S dropped 8.5% in 2019

China's trade surplus with the United States narrowed last year as the world's two biggest economies exchanged punitive tariffs in a bruising trade war, official data showed.

The figures were released just a day before the U.S and China are expected to sign a 'phase one' agreement that marks a de-escalation in their two-year conflict.

The perennial U.S trade deficit with China has been a major source of anger for President Donald Trump, who has slapped tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods, triggering tit-for-tat responses from Beijing.

China's surplus came in at around USD 295.8 billion in 2019, down 8.5 per cent from the previous year's record USD 323.3 billion, according to customs data.

In December, its surplus with the U.S was around USD 23.2 billion, down from USD 24.6 billion the month before.