China is no longer the biggest trade partner of the US, as tariff barriers imposed by the US caused a slowdown of bilateral trade, according to statistics released by the US Department of Commerce on Friday.

But as the trade fight is exacerbated by the next round of tariffs announced by the Trump administration, more ordinary US consumers will be harmed, said experts.

The statistics showed that during the first half of this year, imports from China to the US dropped 12 percent, while US exports to China fell about 18 percent.

Notably, in sharp contrast to US President Donald Trump’s promise to cut the deficit, the US deficit in goods and services increased 7.9 percent year-on-year in the first six months of 2019.

The data showed that the US is more vulnerable to the pressure of the trade war than it expected, whereas China is more resilient due to its diverse and optimised trade structure, Liu Jianying, an associate research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce, told the Global Times on Sunday.

“The impact of the trade war on China’s economy is under control. The import and export volume increased by 9.7 percent with countries participating in the Belt & Road Initiative, driving the total growth of imports and exports by 2.7 percentage points, for example,” said Liu.

Experts also said that a new round of tariffs, which has already been announced, is “likely not to be realised” because of immense domestic pressure, as more ordinary American customers and business owners will be seriously damaged.

“Even if it happens, US importers still have to import Chinese goods because some of them are irreplaceable and many others cannot be replaced in the short term,” Xu Mingqi, vice director of the Institute of World Economy at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said on Sunday.

“If tariffs are raised, US importers will have to pay more, which will eventually be passed on to US consumers,” Xu said.

“US companies are now strongly opposing the tariffs on Chinese goods, which actually increase costs and hurt the interests of US companies.”

On Thursday, after the announcement of further tariffs, industry associations, including the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation and the Consumer Technology Association and the American Apparel and Footwear Association all protested.