Highest growth in exports to China

Updated: 2012-08-08 11:35

By Tan Yingzi in Washington (China Daily)

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All but 15 of the 435 districts represented in Congress had higher growth in goods sold to China in 2011 than to other export markets, underscoring the importance of Chinese consumption to the US economy, according to a business group's report issued on Tuesday.

The US-China Business Council, which advocates for US companies that do business with China, also found that last year's numbers were part of a trend: In 418 of those 420 congressional districts, growth in exports to the country hit triple digits between 2002 and 2011.

"Exports to China contribute to America's economic recovery and support good jobs for American workers. China is the third-largest US export market and continues to provide growing opportunities for US businesses, whether large or small," said the council's vice-president, Erin Ennis.

Canada and Mexico are the top two US export markets, largely due to their proximity to the United States and participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

From 2000 through 2011, US exports to Canada increased by $102 billion, followed by China ($88 billion), Mexico ($86 billion) and Brazil ($28 billion), the business council's report said.

To create jobs, President Barack Obama in January 2010 introduced a plan to double US exports by 2014, which would require annual growth of at least 15 percent on average for five straight years. Tuesday's report by the council noted that China is the only major US export market that has exceeded this goal in the past two years.

The top three districts that export to China in 2011 were Washington state's 4th Congressional District ($3.3 billion), Louisiana's 5th ($3.1 billion) and Oregon's 1st ($1.5 billion). Their major exports include agricultural products, computers and electronics, chemicals, waste and scrap. Broken down by state, Washington had five of the top 10 exporting districts, followed by Louisiana with three.

"Congressional districts in states as diverse as Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin also benefited from rapidly increasing exports to China - including exports of manufactured goods such as electrical equipment, machinery, computers and electronics, transportation equipment, and other high-end products," Ennis said.

Despite the rapid upswing, China accounted for only 7 percent of US exports last year. For China, the United States is only the fifth-biggest source of imports, according to the US Trade Representative's Office.

To maximize exports, the US-China Business Council suggests in its report that Washington policymakers increase the capacity and resources of trade-promotion agencies, such as the US Commercial Service, the US Export-Import Bank and the Trade Representative's Office, while providing more support to local-level exchanges between the two countries.

The Chinese government has said that US controls on the export of technology products are the main constraint on trade with China.

Former US Treasury secretary Henry Paulson wrote in his recent report, A New Framework for US-China Economic Relations, that the US should be more open to Chinese investment, grant China market-economy status on a sector-by-sector basis, and reform its outdated export-control system.

The Ministry of Commerce in April issued China's 12th Five-Year Plan for Foreign Trade Development, calling for annual domestic economic growth of 10 percent from 2011 to 2015, with a goal of reaching $4.8 trillion by the end of the period. The ministry also said China will pursue trade that is balanced, progressive and beneficial to itself and its trading partners.

The ministry expects that China will overtake the United States as the world's No 1 importer, with the value of imports expected to exceed $8 trillion during 2011-2015. China enjoys a large trade surplus with the US.