China trade talks to resume in Washington next week: White House

US stocks close modestly higher, add to gains from last week

Just days ahead of a visit to the United States by a top trade official representing China, and on the heels of stalled trade negotiations in Beijing with a USA delegation, increased inspections of U.S. pork imports at Chinese ports is causing the most recent bottleneck of shipments there, according to a Reuters report.

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.

Imports also showed strong growth, surging 21.5 percent year-on-year, and suggesting its domestic demand remains resilient despite rising corporate borrowing costs and cooling property investment.

USA officials traveled to Beijing last week for talks on resolving the dispute between the world's two biggest economies.

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. In addition, the USA president wants sharply lower import tariffs for U.S. goods and a cut in Chinese state subsidies for advanced technologies. And we are working on something that we think will be great for everybody.

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China's trade surplus with the USA totaled $80.4 billion in January-April, up from $50 billion in the same period past 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.

China's exports to the U.S. last month rose 9.7 percent from a year earlier, slowing from a 14.8 percent rise in the first quarter. Last year's merchandise trade surplus totaled $375 billion, according to US data, while Chinese statistics put it at about $276 billion.

That led to a widening trade gap in the first four months of 2018, climbing to $80.4 billion from about $71 billion in the same period a year ago.

The White House has announced that China's top economic advisor and Vice Premier Liu He is set to visit Washington next week to resume discussions concerning the settling of trade issues. The high-level meetings are "constructive moves in the right direction" to resolve the tensions, she said.

A Reuters report citing sources said China had offered to buy more USA goods and lower tariffs on some goods, including cars.

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