BEIJING, Sept 8 (Reuters) - China's trade suplus with the United States in August rose to $26.23 billion, its highest since September 2015, compared with $25.2 billion a month earlier, Chinese customs data on Friday showed.
China's Jan-August trade surplus with the U.S. was $168.06 billion.
That could give fresh ammunition to U.S. President Donald Trump who has long complained that the trade imbalance between the two nations hurts the U.S. economy.
Trump in August authorized an inquiry into China's alleged theft of intellectual property in the first direct trade measure by his administration against Beijing, but one that is unlikely to prompt near-term change.
Beijing has responded that China will tighten controls over IP theft, admitting that its IP protection was "not perfect" as a developing country.
The growth of China's exports to the United States at 8.4 percent in August was the slowest pace since a decline in February, while its imports of U.S. goods rose 18.1 percent on-year after a 24.2 percent jump in the previous month.
(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Kim Coghill)