China exports beat expectations despite U.S. trade spat

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China's Foreign Ministry said that a planned visit by President Xi Jinping's top economic adviser, Liu He, to Washington next week shows the US hopes to "reach a consensus" with Beijing on trade and economic issues.

China's goods trade rose 8.9 percent year-on-year to 9.11 trillion yuan (about 1.43 trillion USA dollars) in the first four months of this year, customs data showed Tuesday.

Import growth had been expected to pick up to 16 percent, compared with 14.4 percent one month earlier.

The two countries have been engaging in high-stakes negotiations to head off the threatened tariffs - Washington has targeted $150 billion in Chinese imports while Beijing put $50 billion of United States goods on the firing line. They included cutting the USA trade deficit with China by $200 billion by the end of 2020 and halting Chinese subsidies for advanced technology industries.

"Lingering trade tension and uncertainty will likely negatively affect China's export orders and related business investment", he said, according to Bloomberg News. "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.

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The US side demanded that China reduce its trade surplus with the US to the tune of US$200bn by 2020. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy Larry Kudlow, and Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro were all on the trip.

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. Last year's merchandise trade surplus totaled $375 billion, according to US data, while Chinese statistics put it at about $276 billion.

China's top economic adviser will visit the United States next week to continue discussions on the ongoing trade dispute between the two nations after talks in Beijing failed to produce a breakthrough to avert a possible trade war.

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 U.S. tariffs weighing on the outlook.