NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 26, 2010

Nineteen U.S. states exported $1 billion or more in 2009 to China, which is now the third largest market for U.S. exports, according to the United States-China Business Council (USCBC) in its annual survey. 

Other findings: 

  • Exports to China declined only slightly in 2009, compared to a 20 percent plunge in exports to the rest of the world.
  • Top U.S. exports to China last year were computers and electronics, agricultural products, chemicals, and transportation equipment. 

The USCBC figures tend to undercut complaints that China's currency policies have stymied U.S. exports to that country.   In fact, since 2005 U.S. exports to China have been growing three times faster than our exports to the rest of the world, says Daniel Griswold, director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. 

There is agreement across the spectrum that the Chinese government should continue to move toward a more flexible, market priced currency.  However, the export numbers do not give any support to the critics who want to threaten sanctions against China, says Griswold.  

"If the Obama administration hopes to double U.S. exports in the next five years, as the president announced in his State of the Union address, it should praise China for its growing appetite for U.S. goods and services, not threaten it with trade sanctions.  Any company hoping to double its sales in the next five years would be foolish to pick a needless fight with one of its best customers," says Griswold. 

Source: Daniel Griswold, "19 U.S. states top $1 billion in exports to China," Mad About Trade, April 21, 2010. 

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