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China trade volume up nine percent in first four months

Data released by the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) on Thursday showed that China's total trade volume exceeded nine trillion yuan in the first four months of this year, an increase of nearly nine percent from the same period last year.

MOFCOM's data showed that the volume of exports was nearly five trillion yuan, a rise of more than six percent. Imports came in at more than four trillion yuan, a jump of nearly 12 percent and the trade surplus was more than 500 billion yuan, down about 24 percent.

"As we have reiterated, China is not purposefully pursuing a trade surplus. This was totally caused by the market, and it changes according to changes of the market. China will expand its imports from its own initiative," said Gao Feng, spokesperson for the MOFCOM.

Gao said that the improved trade environment would likely continue throughout the year. He said that the numbers reflect an improved global economy as well as a release of pent-up domestic demand. The spokesman said that the ministry also hopes that China-US trade can become a strong driving force behind global economic growth.

China and the US held their first round of negotiations on May 3 and 4 in an effort to resolve their ongoing trade disputes. The two countries discussed some key issues, including the trade imbalance, two-way investments, and protecting intellectual property rights. China and the US have reached a consensus on some of the issues and agreed to continue negotiating the others.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will be in Washington next week to continue negotiations with the US. Gao said that both nations' working teams are discussing the talks. He also said that Beijing isn't looking to get into a trade war with the United States.

"China doesn’t hope to get involved in a trade war, but is not afraid of one. I hope under the guidance of the two leaders, the two sides will abide by the principles of mutual respect and negotiation on equal footing. The two countries will continue to increase communications, work together pragmatically, and manage differences, in the interest of stable economic and trade relations," said Gao.


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