China's trade surplus with U.S. widens to $22.19 billion in April

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That led to a widening trade gap in the first four months of 2018, climbing to $80.4 billion from about $71 billion in the same period a year ago.

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

The April surge in the US-China trade gap was partly the result of rebounding Chinese exports in April, rising 12.9 percent from a year earlier and bouncing back from a 2.7 percent drop in March.

U.S. officials led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin visited Beijing last week for negotiations with the Chinese government, but the meeting appeared to yield little except an agreement that the two powers would continue to communicate despite "big differences" between them.

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The heated row with Washington and threats of tit-for-tat punitive measures on trade and investment have added to existing concerns about an economic slowdown in China this year.

"We have noted the statement from the White House press secretary".

The negotiations could head off the threatened USA tariffs targeting $150bn in imports, while China has warned $50bn in goods are in the line of fire. In addition, the USA president wants sharply lower import tariffs for U.S. goods and a cut in Chinese state subsidies for advanced technologies.

That left the country with a trade surplus of $28.78 billion for the month, customs data showed on Tuesday.

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

"The US and China asked one another to make sweeping concessions but failed to bridge divisions, raising the chances that each government will slap tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of the other country's exports", the daily reported. Its imports from the USA rose 20.3 percent, the fastest growth in three months.

Imports grew 21.5 per cent on-year, beating analysts' forecast of 16 per cent growth, and accelerating from a 14.4 per cent rise in March.

Highlighting the challenge of significantly reducing that gap any time soon, China's trade surplus with the United States widened to US$22.19 billion last month, from US$15.43 billion in March, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data released yesterday.

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