Chinese goods pouring into the US may be countered by more exports going the opposite way after China's leader promised to take action.
Mr Hu's planned US visit this month was cancelled because of Katrina
President Hu Jintao promised to reduce the trade surplus as he went into talks with George W Bush in New York, where the two are to attend the World Summit.
Concern has grown among US producers at the scale of Chinese imports and limits have been put on a range of goods.
The US has threatened to impose more quotas if Chinese exports keep rising.
The European Union also has put strict limits on imports and China has been accused of undervaluing its currency to boost exports.
"There's no denial that our bilateral trade has developed so fast... it is inevitable that we may have some frictions," Mr Hu said.
China's leader also insisted in New York that his country was not pursuing a huge trade surplus with the US.
"We're willing to work with the [US] to take effective measures to increase China's imports from the United States," he added.
Some US firms say Chinese competition is wiping out their business, the BBC's Duncan Bartlett reports.
American shops are full of Chinese clothes, shoes and toys and the trade gap is expected to reach $200bn this year.
Our business reporter notes that when China previously said it wanted to purchase more US products, it meant hi-tech goods which the US may be wary of exporting.
However, if China does choose to import more goods from the US, European producers - such as aeroplane company Airbus - are concerned that their sales may suffer.
On the value of China's currency, Mr Bush said he thought Beijing had taken a good first step when it revalued the yuan in August ,but added that more should be done to let it trade openly on the financial markets.
Meanwhile, the US president accepted an invitation to visit China in November during the talks.
China's President had been scheduled to visit Washington earlier this month, but this was cancelled because Mr Bush had to deal with the fallout of Hurricane Katrina.
Mr Hu extended China's sympathy to the US over the disaster.
A senior White House official, Michael Green, said the two presidents also discussed nuclear concerns regarding North Korea and Iran.
According to Mr Green, a White House National Security Council expert on Asia, they restated a commitment to persuade North Korea to give up nuclear weapons.
China is currently taking part in six-party talks on the issue, along with the US, in Beijing.
On Iran, he said, Mr Hu supported using diplomatic means to persuade Tehran to give up uranium conversion work.
However, the Chinese leader gave no specific commitment to back a move to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions.
"The tone was the right tone but the specifics and the specific commitments, that's for the follow-up," said the White House official.
He added that a list of US human rights concerns was passed to the Chinese guest by an aide to Mr Bush, but no details were given to the media.