In December 2018, therefore, China imported 9.23 million tons of gas, both by pipeline and as LNG, up 17 percent on the year.
China's exports to the United States rose 11.3 percent previous year, while imports from the USA only increased 0.7 percent.
Private enterprises played a bigger role, accounting for 39.7 percent of the total foreign trade, up 1.1 percentage points compared with 2017.
Chinese exports and imports fell last month, indicating United States tariffs are beginning to impact the world's number two economy.
However, customs' data for December also showed that exports to the U.S. dropped 3.5 percent compared with December of the previous year, possibly due to U.S. tariffs on an array of Chinese goods.
PG&E talking with banks about multibillion dollar bankruptcy financing package
State fire investigators blamed the utility's power lines for causing a number of California wildfires in October 2017. Fire officials have not yet officially said what caused the blaze, but have focused on power equipment.
Trump wants Beijing to buy more American goods to narrow the yawning trade gap and allow foreign players better access and protection in the Chinese market.
The customs administration said it will work to "improve the country's business environment and expand foreign trade in order to keep employment, the financial sector, foreign trade, foreign investment" stable. China's surplus is the U.S.'s trade deficit.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly slammed China's trade surplus with the US and the country's allegedly unfair trade practices.
China's export growth is expected to have eased for a second straight month in December as global demand weakened, raising pressure on Beijing as it tries to reach a trade deal with Washington.
Official data showed the manufacturing sector contracted in December for the first time in more than two years.