Japan reports exports, trade surplus slid in March

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s exports declined in March as shipments to China dropped more than 9%, pulling the nation’s trade surplus sharply lower.

The data released Wednesday by the Finance Ministry was more or less in line with forecasts.

It said total exports for the world’s 3rd largest economy fell 2.4% from a year earlier while imports rose 1%.

Exports to the U.S., Japan’s biggest single overseas market, rose slightly while imports fell, increasing the politically sensitive trade surplus by nearly 10%.

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The report came as Japan and the U.S. finished launching trade talks aimed at clinching an agreement aimed at redressing that imbalance, which totaled $67.6 billion in 2018 according to U.S. figures.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s office said he and Japan’s trade minister Toshimitsu Motegi agreed to continue talks soon.

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