China exports beat expectations despite U.S. trade spat

China exports beat expectations despite U.S. trade spat

President Donald Trump tweeted last week that "it is hard for China in that they have become very spoiled with USA trade wins!"

The latest figures come as China and the United States spar over Beijing's perennial trade surplus.

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.

President Xi seemed to respond to the escalation in early May by signaling a willingness to improve intellectual property protections and cut tariffs on USA auto imports to China.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He was involved in the Beijing-based trade talks with the USA trade delegation.

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.

China's move to higher-value exports is clear, with shipments of lower-end products, such as shoes and apparel, declining year-on-year, but its strategic tech sector is firmly in the crosshair of the White House.

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.

The Trump administration has drawn a hard line, demanding a US$200 billion (S$268 billion) cut in the Chinese trade surplus with the U.S., sharply lower tariffs and advanced technology subsidies.

For January-April, China's trade surplus with the United States was $80.4 billion.

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

China's imports from the USA climbed 11.6 percent between January and April, which however wasn't enough to offset a 13.9-percent rise in exports to that country.

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

Just hours after the steel and aluminum tariffs had been announced, Kudlow told reporters that the Trump administration was mulling over providing China with a list of what the USA wants to see happen on trade with China.

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