That led to a widening trade gap in the first four months of 2018, climbing to $80.4 billion from about $71 billion in the same period previous year.
Imports for the first four months of 2018 rose 8.9 percent versus the same period a year ago to 151.43 million tonnes, or 9.21 million bpd.
The headline news comes as Washington and Beijing are preparing for another high-level meeting on trade relations, scheduled for next week.
Chinese President Xi Jinping's top economic adviser, Liu He, will visit Washington next week to continue discussions with President Donald Trump's economic team, the White House said Monday.
US officials traveled to Beijing last week for talks on resolving the dispute between the world's two biggest economies.
President Donald Trump tweeted last week that "it is hard for China in that they have become very spoiled with USA trade wins!"
Could this be the hottest Mayday since records began?
He said: "Average temperatures should be about 15C (59F) so they are about 10C (50F) above average for this time of year". He said: "Swathes of Britain are about to enjoy a warm and settled Bank Holiday weekend".
The world's two largest economies have threatened each other with tariffs on tens of billions of dollars' worth of exports, leading to worries that Washington and Beijing might plunge into a full-scale trade war that could damage global growth and roil financial markets.
Among the list of hard-line demands that Trump's delegation handed China last week was an ultimatum to cut $200 billion from its annual trade surplus with the U.S.by 2020.
Analysts had expected China to post a trade surplus of $24.7 billion for April after a rare deficit of $4.98 billion the previous month.
Chinese private enterprises played a bigger role in trade by contributing 38.6 percent to total trade, up 1.2 percentage points compared with the same period a year ago.
The two sides agreed that major disputes were still unresolved and a work mechanism should be set up to keep close communication, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency noted.
"We think it shows the USA side's willingness to reach a consensus with China on economic and trade issues", China's ministry of foreign affairs spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a news briefing.
A Reuters report citing sources said China had offered to buy more United States goods and lower tariffs on some goods, including cars.