China's March trade weakens, surplus with United States at $15.4B

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Trump responded in a tweet saying he was "thankful" for Xi's remarks on tariffs and access for USA automakers, and said both countries would "make great progress together". He has called for up to $150 billion in additional tariffs on Chinese goods as punishment for intellectual property theft.

While he did not directly mention US President Donald Trump's trade demands, Xi told an economic forum on the southern island of Hainan that Beijing "does not seek a trade surplus" and hopes to increase imports.

"The door of China's opening up will not close, it will only open wider and wider".

Xi earlier Tuesday pledged to open Chinese markets and lower tariffs, remarks that helped global investors breathe a sigh of relief after weeks in which Beijing and Washington appeared on a collision course.

Talks between the world's biggest economies broke down last week after the Trump administration demanded steps to curtail China's support for high-technology industries, a person familiar with the situation said. "The tone was conciliatory but Washington is bargaining for action, not promises".

All three main indexes on Wall Street ended more than 2% down on Friday.

Even as China's trade surplus narrowed overall in the first three months of the year, its surplus with the US surged 19.4 percent to $58.25 billion from a year earlier, customs data showed on Friday.

Talks hit a snag over United States efforts to curb Beijing's "Made in China 2025" program, which identifies 10 local industries to make globally competitive by 2025, and globally dominant during this century.

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"China took the initiative to open up and made it possible for all countries across the world to ride on the express of China's economic development", Gao said.

The auto tariffs were the target of a Trump tweet Monday, saying China charges much higher levies than the United States, "Does that sound like free or fair trade".

Trump, who has also requested reduced tariffs on cars and ending technology transfers, has threatened to levy some $150 billion of tariffs against China.

China in a retaliatory measure, chose to impose additional tariff of 25 per cent on 106 products under 14 categories worth Dollars 50 billion.

Xi's speech gave no ground on the industrial push, which is central to his plan to complete China's rise as great power by the mid-century mark. He reiterated general pledges to open up financial services, strengthen intellectual property rights protection, and improve the investment climate in order to attract more foreign investment. India boycotted a high-profile Belt and Road Forum organised by China past year.

"We've been clear with the Chinese government in areas that are of concern to United States workers, U.S. companies, and the overall trade balance".

Trump's moves, part of his protectionist America First agenda, have rattled world markets, fearing a trade war between the world's top two economies could reverse the tentative global recovery.

"This year, we will considerably reduce auto import tariffs, and at the same time reduce import tariffs on some other products", Xi said.

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