BEIJING - A report Monday on Chinese manufacturing suggested that Beijing's trade war with the Trump administration is causing domestic economic damage.
Surveys of manufacturers across Asia for May showed that business confidence has been shaken by the conflict over President Donald Trump's demands that Beijing change its industrial planning strategy and find other ways to redress its perennially huge trade surpluses.
But in a move that could ratchet back some tensions, the world's largest association of technology professionals said it is lifting a research cooperation restriction it had imposed on employees of Chinese tech giant Huawei.
A private survey, the Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers' index, or PMI, for China held steady at 50.2 in May, just above the 50 level that distinguishes between expansion and contraction.
But business confidence slipped to its lowest level since the series began in April 2012. The official manufacturing PMI, issued Friday, sank to one of the lowest levels in three years.
China showed no signs of budging over the Trump administration's demands. It issued a report over the weekend saying it would not back down on "major issues of principle."
It said Beijing had kept its word through 11 rounds of trade negotiations and accused Washington of backtracking by introducing new tariffs and other conditions beyond what had been agreed to.
Most of Trump's ire over trade has been directed at China, given its lion-sized importance to global manufacturing and its growing technological prowess.
But last week the president heaped more uncertainty on global financial markets and investors by saying he would impose 5% tariffs on Mexican imports starting June 10 if the Mexicans don't stop the surge of Central American migrants across the southern U.S. border.
That would be a blow to some manufacturers that use Mexico as production bases, such as automakers.
Meanwhile, the world's largest grouping of technology professionals, IEEE, reversed itself on a restriction that Huawei employees no longer be permitted to peer review or edit articles published in its journals. The restriction had prompted an angry backlash among Chinese members of the 420,000-member organization, with some declaring they would quit.
Huawei has borne the brunt of U.S. castigation in the U.S.-China trade dispute as an alleged national security risk, with the U.S. Commerce Department blacklisting it in mid-May, effectively barring U.S. firm from selling or transferring technology to it.
The IEEE restriction turned out to be an overly cautious response to the blacklisting, the organization said in a statement published on its website Sunday, and was dropped after "requested clarification" from the Commerce Department.