China's April trade surplus of $16.7 billion compares with a $13.4 billion surplus in March and an $8.6 billion surplus in February.
Chinese exports in April rose 21.8% from a year earlier to $118.7 billion, while imports increased 26.3% to $102 billion, the figures showed.
The trade surplus for the first four months reached $58.0 billion, the customs bureau said.
In the four months from January to April, exports rose 21.5% from the same period a year earlier to $424.6 billion. Imports in the same four months totalled $366.6 billion, up 27.9%.
China's trade surplus is used as ammunition by its foreign trade partners as they seek to persuade Beijing to allow its currency to rise at a faster pace against the dollar. They argue that the Chinese currency is kept at an artificially low level, giving the nation's exporters an unfair price advantage in the global markets. The Chinese currency, the yuan, has risen steadily from 8.3 to the U.S .dollar about three years ago to the current level of about 7.0 to the dollar.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008