China's trade surplus with USA widens as exports surge

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Trump wants substantial reduction in trade deficit with China, which now stands at Dollars 500 billion.

"We believe this shows the U.S. wishes to reach a consensus with China on trade issues", ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a regular media briefing.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected April shipments from the world's largest exporter to have risen 6.3 percent on year, bouncing back from a 2.7 percent decline the previous month that was believed to have been heavily distorted by seasonal factors.

High-level discussions between the two sides in Beijing last week appeared to make little substantive progress in defusing tensions apart from an agreement to hold more talks.

The latest figures come as China and the United States spar over Beijing's perennial trade surplus. China's top economic official will visit Washington next week to resume trade talks with the Trump administration, the White House said on Monday.

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The heated row with Washington and threats of tit-for-tat punitive measures on trade and investment have added to concerns about an economic slowdown in China this year as Beijing continues its campaign to reduce risks to the country's financial system. In addition, the USA president wants sharply lower import tariffs for U.S. goods and a cut in Chinese state subsidies for advanced technologies.

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.

For January to last month, it rose to US$80.4 billion, from about US$71 billion in the same period a year ago.

"Imports for the first four months of 2018 rose 8.9 percent versus the same period a year ago to 151.43 million tonnes, or 9.21 million bpd". China's imports of soya beans and crude oil rose in April from the previous month, though imports of iron ore and coal fell.

China on Tuesday called for United States trade talks to be conducted on an equal footing, as Beijing's top economic official is due in Washington next week for more discussions on a dispute that could trigger tariffs on billions of dollars of goods this month.