China's trade surplus with US swells

India’s trade minister Suresh Prabhu has hailed the move by China

China's trade surplus with US widens to $22.19 billion in April

Xi's top economic adviser, Liu He, who headed the Chinese side during the Beijing talks, is expected to visit Washington for the meetings next week, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday.

China is now embroiled in a months-long brawl with the USA over trade.

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

Trump has regularly said current trade practices are unfair and hurting American companies and jobs, and has threatened to impose import tariffs to the tune of $150 billion on Chinese goods. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin led the trip that involved two days of trade talks on Thursday and Friday.

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. "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.

Pork exports from the U.S. to China during 2017 represented $1.1 billion, while overall farm exports totaled just under $20 billion during the year. 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.

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Those included slashing the USA trade deficit with China by $200 billion, cutting tariffs and eliminating subsidies for advanced technology, according to people familiar with the demands. Last year's merchandise trade surplus totaled $375 billion, according to US data, while Chinese statistics put it at about $276 billion.

The two sides agreed that major disputes were still unresolved and a work mechanism should be set up to keep close communication, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency noted.

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.

Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on as much as Dollars 150 billion in Chinese goods, duties that can be imposed after a public comment period ends on May 22.

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 US wants to see happen on trade with China. China's communist leaders have countered by outlining $50 billion in USA goods that they would target with retaliatory duties on goods including aircraft and soybeans.

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