US exports to China surpass $100 billion

Updated: 2012-03-29 10:54

By Zhang Yuwei in New York (China Daily)

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Total United States' exports to China surpassed $100 billion last year, with 30 states now counting China as one of their top three export markets, according to a new report released by the US-China Business Council (USCBC) on Wednesday.

The annual report says that China remains the US' third-largest export market, just behind Canada and Mexico - two neighbors that have a regional free-trade agreement with the US.

"Exports to China are vital to America's economic health and create good jobs for American workers," said Erin Ennis, vice-president at the Washington-based organization, which represents about 240 American companies doing business in China.

Between 2000 and 2011, total US exports to China rose 542 percent - from $16.2 billion in 2000 to a record-breaking $103.9 billion in 2011 - while exports to the rest of the world increased 80 percent. US exports to China recovered faster after the recession than exports to anywhere else in the world, according to USCBC.

"Clearly, China is a market that is important to US companies' bottom lines, even in tough economic times," Ennis said.

"Forty-eight states have registered at least triple-digit export growth to China since 2000, far outpacing exports to the rest of the world, and 20 of those states have experienced quadruple-digit growth," Ennis said.

The $88 billion increase in exports to China from 2000 to 2011 exceeded the increase to every other market for US goods and farm products, with the exception of Canada, according to the report.

"US exports to Canada rose $102 billion over the same period, while US exports to Mexico rose $86 billion. Brazil was a distant fourth with just a $28-billion increase in purchases of US products," Ennis said.

The report shows that the top five US state exporters to China are: California at $14.2 billion, Washington at $11.2 billion, Texas with $10.9 billion, Louisiana with $7.3 billion, and New York at $4.5 billion.

US exports to China also exceeded the global average annual growth rate of 18 percent that US President Barack Obama set as a goal in his National Export Initiative - a plan announced in 2010 that aimed to double total US exports by 2014.

The initiative requires at least a 15-percent average growth rate per year for five years to reach that goal; China is the

only major US export market to have consistently exceeded the 15 percent target growth rate since 2000, according to the report.

Exports from the US that were highest in demand from China last year included crops, computers and electronics, chemicals and transportation equipment.

"American companies from every corner of the nation are exporting high-value computers, electronics, agricultural products, chemicals, transportation equipment, and machinery to an expanding marketplace in China," Ennis said.

China emerged as the top market for US agricultural products last year, importing about $20 billion US goods. The nation is also the largest buyer of US soybeans, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Vice-president Xi Jinping's visit in February gave a shot in the arm to agricultural ties between the two nations. In Iowa, Xi visited a corn and soybean farm that was seen as a positive sign for local farmers.

"We produce more than we consume so we have to rely on trade, and on China, with its population and growing economy. It's great to be its trading partner," said Grant Kimberley, son of the owner of the farm that Xi visited.