Patterns in U.S.-China Trade Since China’s Accession to the World Trade Organization. November 29, 2012, by Joseph Casey, USCC Research Fellow for Economic and Trade Issues
News release: "The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission has released a new report, “Patterns in U.S.-China Trade Since China’s Accession to the World Trade Organization,” detailing patterns in U.S.-China trade that have taken place in the decade since China’s accession to the WTO in December 2001. The report finds that although U.S. exports to China have more than quintupled in value since 2000, there has been a surge of Chinese imports into the United States, resulting in a growing bilateral trade deficit. The report notes, however, that changes in trade patterns between the United States and China vary significantly by industry and sector. U.S. exports of manufactured goods rose in absolute terms from 2001 to 2011 – to include a steady rise in exports of aircraft between 2008 and 2011 – however, the overall trade imbalance in manufactured goods between the United States and China increased during this period. The largest source of the expanded trade deficit through 2011 was increased imports of computers and electronic products from China, with a particularly dramatic rise of imports in this sector from 2009 to 2011. While U.S. exports of computer and electronic products to China saw a shift from fully manufactured products to components (such as semi-conductors), there was a concurrent increase in imports of fully manufactured electronics and computers from China. The report also noted a dramatic rise in the levels of non-manufactured goods – particularly agricultural products, raw materials, and mined natural resource products – exported by U.S. producers to China. In 2011 non-manufactured products accounted for roughly twice as large a share of U.S. exports to China as compared to 2000. This shift led to a U.S. trade surplus with China in non-manufactured goods of nearly $19.7 billion in 2011. Exports of American agricultural products to China have increased especially sharply since 2002 primarily as a result of increased soybean exports, which have grown dramatically since 2006. Exports like cotton and tobacco have also seen significant growth. Exports of oil, gas, minerals and ores from the United States to China also grew substantially over this period: from around $105 million in 2000 to $2.1 billion in 2010. Exports in this category more than doubled in value from 2009 to 2010 alone."