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The news came during Monday's White House press briefing when a reporter asked Press Secretary Sarah Sanders whether President Donald Trump had any reaction to last week's trade talks in Beijing between a delegation of top US trade officials and Chinese government officials.

The visit by vice-premier Liu He - considered President Xi Jinping's right-hand man on economic issues - comes after he led talks in Beijing last week with a high-level USA delegation that made little headway in resolving the standoff.

China's crude oil imports reached record highs in April on a daily basis, according to customs data, with independent refiners shipping in backlogs of cargoes from the previous month and making new purchases amid steady refining margins.

China is now embroiled in a months-long brawl with the United States over trade.

China's April imports jumped 21.5%and its exports grew 12.9% against the prior year-ago period.

On Tuesday morning, Mr. Trump tweeted that he would talk with Chinese President Xi Jinping at 8:30 a.m. ET.

"China's top economic adviser, the vice premier [Liu He], will be coming here next week to continue the discussions with the president's economic team", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters. "The president has a great relationship with President Xi", Sanders said.


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.

Trade discussions between China and the USA have intensified as Trump has targeted the trade imbalance between the two countries and insufficient intellectual property protections in China.

Imports in April also showed robust growth of 22% from previous year, up to USD171.7 billion.

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.

China's Commerce Ministry said the two sides had agreed to establish a mechanism to try to resolve their dispute, though differences remained, Chinese state media reported.

Trump has threatened to hike tariffs on $150 billion in Chinese imports.


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