China's exports last month rebounded more strongly than expected after a surprise drop in the previous month, suggesting that global demand remains relatively resilient and providing a cushion to the economy amid a heated trade dispute with the US.
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 USA goods on the firing line.
The strong import figures point to growing demand within China, a boon for the country's transition to consumption-fuelled growth from a decades-long dependence on exports and investment, analysts say. "The backdrop of the ongoing trade negotiations between China and the USA is one in which global growth has already peaked and China's export performance is waning as a result".
Last month saw major growth in China trade.
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USA officials traveled to Beijing last week for talks with their Chinese counterparts to resolve the issue but made little progress.
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.
Steven Mnuchin, US Treasury Secretary, was unsuccessful in resolving the trade and tariff conflict stemming from President Donald Trump's threat to mandate tariffs totaling as much as $150 billion on Chinese goods imported into the US.
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.
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Imports surged 21.5% from a year earlier, compared with a 14.4% increase in March. Its imports from the U.S. rose 11.6 per cent in the same period.
They included reducing the USA commerce deficit with China by $200 billion by the top of 2020 and halting Chinese language subsidies for superior expertise industries.
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.
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