China responded with threats of US exports to China in an equal amount and targeting industries that may cause the most impact.
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.
Liu led the Chinese delegation that spent two days negotiating in Beijing last week with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and other senior U.S. officials.
China's exports last month rose 12.9 percent from a year earlier, beating analysts' forecasts for a 6.3 percent increase and snapping back from a 2.7 percent drop in March that economists believe was heavily distorted by seasonal factors. Both exports and imports beat economists' expectations.
The heated row with Washington and threats of tit-for-tat punitive measures on trade and investment have added to concerns about an economic slowdown in China this year as Beijing continues its campaign to reduce risks to the country's financial system.
USA officials traveled to Beijing last week for talks with their Chinese counterparts to resolve the issue but made little progress. China's top economic official will visit Washington next week to resume trade talks with the Trump administration, the White House said on Monday.
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According to the news agency Reuters, citing sources close to the talks, China has offered to buy more American goods and to reduce some tariffs, including those on cars.
China's trade surplus with the USA swelled to $22.2 billion, up from $15.4 in March and the first increase since November, as exports to the US grew at a double digit pace.
The US delegation demanded that China curb the two nations' trade deficit by at least 200 billion dollars by the end of 2020 from 2018 levels, as well as lower tariffs and eliminate subsidies for high tech. Its imports from the United States rose 20.3 percent, the fastest growth in three months.
Trump wants substantial reduction in trade deficit with China, which now stands at United States dollars 500 billion.
"Now we have famous the assertion from the White Home press secretary".