China vice premier to visit U.S. for trade talks

President Donald Trump    Mark Wilson  Getty Images

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.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to hike tariffs on $150 billion in Chinese imports. China responded with threats of USA exports to China in an equal amount and targeting industries that may cause the most impact.

Julian Evans-Pritchard, an economist at Capital Economics, said despite a seasonal uptick in export growth, the data suggest that foreign demand for Chinese goods has started to soften, with the prospect of possible United States tariffs weighing on the outlook.

In the first four months of the year, China's surplus with the United States totalled USD80.4 billion, a 13% increase over the same period last year. President Donald Trump's demands that China slash its surplus with the US have become a cornerstone of his combative economic policy.

That left China with a trade surplus of US$28.78 billion for the month, compared with forecasts for a US$24.7 billion surplus in April and a rare deficit of US$4.98 billion in March. "The President has a great relationship with (Chinese) President Xi (Jinping), and we are working on something that we think will be great for everybody", Sanders said.


Of note, the country's trade surplus with the US expanded to $22.19 billion in April - compared with a surplus of $15.43 billion in March, customs data showed. That compared with 39.17 million tonnes in April previous year.

Trump directed Trade Representative Lighthizer in early April to look at the potential of imposing $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports.

The widening surplus "reflects the difficulty of closing the trade gap between the two countries in the near term, but it is unlikely to obstruct the constructive progress made recently" in negotiations between Washington and Beijing, ANZ Bank's senior China economist, Betty Wang, said in a research note.

However, China said "big differences" remained between the two sides after last week's talks while leaks of the negotiating positions showed both were digging in with hardline demands. Trump doubled down, threatening $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports to the U.S.

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