Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's trade surplus with the United States rose 19.4 percent in the first quarter to $58.25 billion from the same period a year earlier, customs said on Friday.

 

China's March trade surplus with the U.S. fell to $15.32 billion, according to Reuters calculations based on official data, compared with $20.96 billion for February.

 

The data follows weeks of tit-for-tat tariff threats by Washington and Beijing, sparked by U.S. frustration with China's massive bilateral trade surplus and intellectual property policies, which have fueled fears of a global trade war.

 

China's exports to the U.S. increased 14.8 percent from a year earlier in January-March period, spokesman Huang Songping told a briefing in Beijing, while imports from the U.S. also rose 8.9 percent.

 

Customs has not yet released the data for March.

 

(Reporting by Elias Glenn and Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Kim Coghill)