Beijing, April 13 (IANS) China has never sought a trade surplus with the US, a top official said on Thursday, as the world's two largest economies work to ease tension and develop rapport.
Sun Jiwen of the Ministry of Commerce said: "China is willing to expand imports from the US based on domestic demand."
Sun attributed the current trade surplus to differences in economic structure, industrial competitiveness and international division of labour, Xinhua news agency reported.
The imbalance is easing as middle-income Chinese generate huge demand for imported products, a trend already shown in both US and Chinese official data.
Washington's trade deficit with China dropped 5.5 per cent to around $347 billion in 2016, according to the US Department of Commerce.
In February, the monthly figure declined 26 per cent. Statistics from Chinese customs confirm the changes.
Sun hoped the US would adjust its exports controls to create conditions to dissolve the deficit.
Although the surplus is registered in China's balance of trade, bilateral trade generates mutual benefits, he said.
Analysts estimate that about 40 per cent of the trade surplus is generated by US companies in China.
China has become the largest trade partner of the US, while the latter is China's second largest.
Bilateral trade stood at $520 billion in 2016, more that 200 times the level in 1979 when the countries established diplomatic ties.