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China's exports growth unexpectedly accelerated in July despite fresh US tariffs, while its trade surplus with the United States remained near record highs as Beijing and Washington ramped up a bitter dispute that has rattled financial markets.

Last month, the United States imposed duties of 25 percent on Chinese imports worth $34bn.

It is the second time the USA has slapped tariffs on Chinese goods, despite persistent warnings by American businesses it will raise the price of goods for consumers.

All in all, China's trade surplus with the U.S. shrank to $28.08 billion in July against $28.97 billion in the previous month.

The Trump administration has accused China of unfair trade practices and President Donald Trump has long vowed to bring down the United States' trade deficit in goods with Beijing.

Over the weekend, Trump said he had the upper hand in the trade war, while Beijing responded through state media by saying it was ready to endure the economic fallout.

ANZ senior China economist Betty Wang said Beijing will likely resist using its closely managed currency as a tool in the trade war.

Apples are the seventh largest export to China. While there's no major risk of the world lapsing into "damaging stagflation", the possibility remains of a "bigger blow-up" that sharply reduces trade, as in the 1930s, it said.

Exports rose 5 percent year on year in the January-July period while imports grew 12.9 percent, resulting in a trade surplus of 1.06 trillion yuan, which narrowed by 30.6 percent, according to the General Administration of Customs.

The president remains confident that his "America First" overhaul of US trade policy is paying dividends.

The latest USA tariffs on 279 products, including motorcycles, speedometers and antennas, will also take effect August 23.

In a sign there may be more difficulties ahead, a private survey last week found that the business outlook among Chinese services firms was the second-weakest on record in July in part due worries about the trade war.

The latest tariff salvos stem from Trump's complaint that China is unfairly acquiring American technology via coercive joint ventures with US companies, cybertheft and other violations of intellectual property rights.

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