China's trade surplus with the United States surged 19.4 percent on-year in the first quarter, data showed Friday, as trade tensions between the world's two largest economies simmer.
The surplus reached $58 billion in January-March, customs bureau spokesman Huang Songping said at a briefing in Beijing. Exports to the US rose 14.8 percent on-year, while imports grew 8.9 percent.
“We don't strive for a favorable balance of trade (for China), the current state of trade affairs are shaped by the market,” said Huang.
“We hope that the US will listen patiently to rational and pragmatic voices on the trade balance issue.”
He reiterated that China does not want a trade war with the United States: “We believe that this trade friction is not conducive to China's interests, nor is it conducive to the interests of the US.”
Total trade between the two nations rose 13 percent during the quarter, China's data showed, but the first shots in the latest trade spat were not likely to be felt in the recording period, according to APP.
Each side has slapped tariffs of $3 billion in goods so far, but the United States has threatened to impose duties on more products and China has vowed to retaliate.
The US targeted steel and aluminum while China took aim at pork and wine among a slew of other products from the US.