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Top Chinese economic adviser to visit USA next week for trade talks

09 May 2018

Highlighting the challenge of significantly reducing that gap any time soon, China's trade surplus with the USA 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.

China's top economic official will visit Washington next week to resume trade talks with the Trump administration, the White House said on Monday, after discussions in Beijing last week yielded no agreement on a long list of USA trade demands.

Exports amounted to USD200.4 billion.

The United States and China will hold a new round of trade talks after no breakthroughs emerged from their first meeting.

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China's total exports jumped 21.5 per cent in April from the same month the year before, bouncing back from a contraction the previous month thanks to resurgent global demand. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin led the trip that involved two days of trade talks on Thursday and Friday.

"The data suggest that foreign demand for Chinese goods has started to soften, with the prospect of possible USA tariffs weighing on the outlook", said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China Economist at Capital Economics, in a note.

"The president has a great relationship with President Xi", Sanders said.

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

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"We are working on something that we think will be great for everybody", she told reporters.

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. 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.

For January-April, it rose to US$80.4 billion, compared with about US$71 billion in the same period a year ago. Last year's merchandise trade surplus totalled $375 billion, according to US data, while Chinese statistics put it at about $276 billion.

In Beijing, a foreign ministry spokesman did not confirm Liu's visit, but said China viewed the White House statement positively, and that handling trade issues through consultations served the interests of both countries, as well as of the world.

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China said last week that some progress was made in the talks in Beijing, but acknowledged that the two sides remain far apart on some issues. China's communist leaders have countered by outlining $50 billion in US goods that they would target with retaliatory duties on goods including aircraft and soybeans.

Top Chinese economic adviser to visit USA next week for trade talks