Beijing (dpa) - Against the background of the trade war with the US, China's exports fell unexpectedly sharply in November by 1.1 percent. It was the fourth month in a row that China's exports were down on the same period last year.

Experts had actually expected an increase. As China's Customs said on Sunday in Beijing, exports to the US fell sharply - by 12.5 percent. Imports from the USA even fell by 23.3 percent. The bilateral trade volume decreased by 15.2 percent.

The two largest economies have been engaged in a bitter trade war for more than a year, slowing China's exports. The conflict is slowing economic development in both countries and weakening the global economy. Overall, China's imports rose only slightly by 0.3 percent in November. However, imports increased again for the first time since April. The increase exceeded expectations as experts had expected a decline.

In the trade dispute, the negotiations were running at full speed according to US data. However, next Sunday a new round of US tariff increases threatens US consumer goods produced in China, which should further escalate the conflict. Whether an agreement can be found beforehand must be proven. The deadline December 15 had set US President Donald Trump.

On the basis of the results of the trade talks so far, Trump will personally decide whether the new punitive tariffs will come into force or whether the talks will be given more time. He threatens with additional import fees of 15 percent on the import of consumer goods such as laptops, smartphones, clothes and toys from China worth about 150 billion US dollars.

In any case, imports from China worth about $ 375 billion are subject to punitive tariffs - far more than half of China's total exports to the US, which reached around US $ 557 billion in 2018. In October, Trump had already promised to conclude a partial agreement on the first phase of negotiations by mid-November, but since then trade talks have continued to tighten.

Through targeted publications of both sides there is a constant back and forth in the evaluation of the trade talks, which makes the stock markets uncertain. However, China did improve the climate somewhat towards the end of the week by announcing that it would suspend tariffs on some supplies of soybeans and pork from the US. However, in the negotiations on a first partial agreement, China is calling for not only to suspend the threatened new tariffs, but also to cut back the existing special charges.