Imports in April also showed robust growth of 22% from a year ago, up to USD171.7 billion.
China's trade surplus with the U.S. widened to US$22.19 billion last month, from US$15.43 billion in March, according to Reuters calculations based on Customs data released yesterday.
Import growth had been expected to pick up to 16 percent, compared with 14.4 percent one month earlier. The growing trade surplus comes at a time of escalating friction between Beijing and Washington over the imbalance. Trade representatives from the two sides already met last week, but the talks ended without an agreement.
The two countries have been engaging in high-stakes negotiations to head off the threatened tariffs - Washington has targeted $150 billion in Chinese imports while Beijing put $50 billion of U.S. goods on the firing line.
Mr. Trump is seeking to cut the chronic US trade deficit and gain concessions over policies that foreign companies say force them to share technology with Chinese partners in order to gain market access.
Imports last month also grew more robustly than expected, suggesting China's domestic demand is holding up well, good news for policymakers looking to soften the blow from any trade shocks.
"China's top economic advisor, the Vice Premier, will be coming here next week to continue the discussions with the President's economic team", said Sanders who emphasized the "great relationship" between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.More news: Justify justifies hype with Kentucky Derby win
China's top economic official is to visit Washington next week to resume trade talks with US President Donald Trump's administration, the White House said on Monday.
"We think it shows the United States side's willingness to reach a consensus with China on economic and trade issues", China's ministry of foreign affairs spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a news briefing.
"We are working on something that we think will be great for everybody", she told reporters.
China's trade surplus with the US totaled $80.4 billion in January-April, up from $50 billion in the same period previous year.
After last week's meeting, China's Commerce Ministry said the two sides had agreed to establish a mechanism to try to resolve their dispute, though differences remained.
A Reuters report citing sources said China had offered to buy more USA goods and lower tariffs on some goods, including cars.