China's trade surplus with United States swells before talks in Washington

China's trade surplus with United States swells before talks in Washington

China's trade surplus with United States swells before talks in Washington

From January to April, China's trade with the European Union, the United States, ASEAN and Japan grew 8.3 percent, 5.9 percent, 12.6 percent and 3.8 percent to 1.34 trillion yuan, 1.24 trillion yuan, 1.17 trillion yuan, and 664.13 billion yuan, respectively.

Of note, the country's trade surplus with the USA expanded to $22.19 billion in April - compared with a surplus of $15.43 billion in March, customs data showed.

At the same time, imports growth accelerated to 21.5% from 14.4% in the previous month.

The world's two largest economies have threatened each other with tariffs on tens of billions of dollars' worth of exports, leading to worries that Washington and Beijing might plunge into a full-scale trade war that could damage global growth and roil financial markets.

The headline news comes as Washington and Beijing are preparing for another high-level meeting on trade relations, scheduled for next week.

"China's top economic adviser, the vice premier [Liu He], will be coming here next week to continue the discussions with the president's economic team", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters. Trade representatives from the two sides already met last week, but the talks ended without an agreement.

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China's exports to the USA last month rose 9.7 percent from a year earlier, slowing from a 14.8 percent rise in the first quarter.

However, the Trump administration has drawn a hard line, demanding a US$200 billion cut in the Chinese trade surplus with the US by 2020, sharply lower tariffs and advanced technology subsidies, according to people familiar with the top-level US-China talks on Friday last week.

In April, goods trade surplus shrank by 27 percent to 182.8 billion yuan, as exports rose 3.7 percent year-on-year to 1.27 trillion yuan, while imports grew 11.6 percent to 1.09 trillion yuan, according to the GAC. Last year's merchandise trade surplus totalled $375 billion, according to US data, while Chinese statistics put it at about $276 billion.

The two sides agreed that major disputes were still unresolved and a work mechanism should be set up to keep close communication, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency noted.

Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on as much as United States dollars 150 billion in Chinese goods, duties that can be imposed after a public comment period ends on May 22.

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