On Wednesday, it was reported that China and the United States agreed to set up enforcement offices to monitor implementation of trade pledges, making a breakthrough that paves the way for ending their tariff war.
Chinese imports slumped in March, driven by a slowdown in U.S. trade amid the tense standoff over trade between Washington and Beijing, raising renewed questions over the strength of the Chinese economy.
Adding it up, the data showed that China's exports gained 0.9% for the first quarter and its imports sank by 4.4% in the same period.
Last month, officials lowered China's annual growth target to 6.0 to 6.5 per cent for the year, down from 6.6 per cent last year.
China's March exports came in at a 14.2% year-on-year increase, following a steep 20.8% decline in the combined months of January and February, data from China's General Administration of Customs showed on Friday.
Economists said the sharp rebound in exports was surprising, although warned that exports have yet to fully recover from a sharp slowdown late previous year.
"While import volumes are likely to remain subdued, they will probably recover somewhat in the near-term as policy stimulus helps to shore up demand", he said.
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Washington is pressing Beijing to scale back plans for government-led creation of Chinese competitors in robotics and other technologies.
The struggle has disrupted trade in products ranging from exemptions to medical equipment.
Washington and Beijing have slapped tariffs on more than US$360 billion (RM1.49 trillion) in two-way goods trade, weighing on the manufacturing sectors in both countries.
"The reversal of USA tariffs would only provide a small boost to exports of around 1% to 2%", said Evans-Pritchard.
Chinese exports to the 28-nation European Union rose 23.7% over a year earlier to $33.1 billion.
Exports to the United States grew by double digits through most of 2018 despite Trump's tariff hikes starting in July. Once the full impact hit However, they slipped in December.
China's imports plummeted in March while exports rose sharply, official data showed today, adding to worries about slowing growth in the world's number two economy amid a U.S. trade war.