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International relations

ASEAN becomes China's top trade partner as supply chain evolves

Beijing turns to neighboring bloc as trade war disrupts access to US market

A port in Shenzhen, China: More Chinese businesses are setting up factories in Southeast Asia.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- Southeast Asia became China's largest trade partner in the January-June half as the trade war with the U.S. forces Beijing to recalibrate its global supply chain.

China's total imports and exports with the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations increased 2% on the year to $297.8 billion, the country's custom agency said Tuesday. The bloc accounted for 14.7% of China's overall trade for the period, up from 14% in 2019.

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