The surplus was a sharp drop from March's $30 billion surplus, but an increase from a year earlier.
From March to April, exports in goods dropped 0.8 percent while imports rose by 0.5 percent, which put a squeeze on the total.
The figures released Monday are considered a first estimate that could be revised as more data becomes available.
For the European Union, the 27-nation block that includes the eurozone, the trade balance in goods for April came to a surplus of $12.2 billion, a drop from March, when the surplus was $21.2 billion, but a significant gain from April 2012, when the trade balance had a deficit of $17.8 billion.
For the EU, exports fell by 0.2 percent March to April while imports remained stable, Eurostat said.