It's due on the one hand to the Trump administration's plans to impose mind-numbingly stupid tariffs on China and other USA trade partners and, on the other hand, by retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and others in return.
In turn, the Trump administration accused China of not negotiating "seriously" on trade and released on Tuesday a list of $200 billion worth of Chinese exports that could be subject to new 10-percent tariffs.
The record deficit last month threatens to irritate the White House, which wants to see the extra tariffs on imports reversing the recent trend.
While China has vowed to retaliate against the proposed new USA tariffs - 10 percent on $200 billion of Chinese goods - the lack of a specific response to date has sparked global relief.
China's June exports rose 11.3 percent from a year earlier, beating forecasts for a 10 percent increase according to the latest Reuters poll of 39 analysts, and down from a 12.6 percent gain in May.
US President Donald Trump had already threatened to impose additional tariffs if China - the world's largest exporter - retaliates.
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The United States has started a trade war and China will defend itself, Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said on Thursday, urging the United States to "take the gun" of tariffs away to smooth the way for talks.
Industrial metals copper, zinc and lead all slumped as much as 4 percent to their lowest levels in about a year over worries that the trade dispute could dent China's commodity-hungry economy.
Imports grew 14.1 percent in June, customs said, missing analysts' forecast of a 20.8 percent growth, and compared with a 26 percent rise in May.
The ministry encouraged companies to increase import of soybean, soymeal, vehicles, aquatic products from other markets.
In June the surplus with the U.S. was at $28.97 billion, up from $24.58 billion in May, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data released on Friday.
This is the highest surplus in any month since 1999. Its trade surplus with the USA over the same period was $133.76bn, up from $117.51bn a year ago. China's trade surplus with the United States over the same period was $133.76 billion, up from $117.51 billion a year ago. The surplus was China's highest since December.