U.S.-China trade relations

As part of its trade relations, the People’s Republic of China (PRC or China) is the world’s second largest economy, the top global trader of goods, and an important market for the United States.

In 2021, China was the fourth largest merchandise trading partner of the United States in total trade.

U.S. merchandise exports to China grew 21.4% to $151.1 billion in 2021.

At the same time, merchandise imports to the United States from China increased 16.5% to $506.4 billion.

With that, the U.S. recorded a bilateral U.S. merchandise trade deficit of $355.3 billion.

But U.S. companies face significant trade barriers, unfair practices and lack of reciprocity in key areas, according to a U.S. congressional analysis.

China’s state-driven economic, trade, investment and technology practices, and the challenges they pose to U.S. economic and technological leadership, concern many members of Congress.

The reasons they argue? China continues to demand the transfer of critical U.S. capabilities to China to operate in strategic areas.

Trade relations

In addition, the analysis notes that many of China’s practices distort markets and undermine fair competition in China and around the world, as Chinese companies expand into areas that China restricts domestically.

It adds that China’s system blurs state and business interests, allowing the government to deploy trade tools (e.g., antidumping, antitrust, standards and procurement), economic coercion and espionage to favor its companies and promote China’s industrial and other policies.

On the one hand, according to the International Trade Commission (USITC), the top U.S. exports to China were soybeans ($14.1 billion), processors and controllers ($9.7 billion), and crude oil ($5.9 billion).

On the other hand, the top U.S. imports from China were laptops and tablets ($55.7 billion), cell phones ($48 billion), and wheeled and other toys ($14.6 billion).


In 2021, China was the sixth largest U.S. services trading partner. U.S. services exports to China fell 10.4% to $36.2 billion in 2021, while U.S. services imports from China grew 33.3% to $20.8 billion in 2021, resulting in a U.S. bilateral services trade surplus of $15.4 billion.

The top three U.S. services exports to China were intellectual property use charges ($9.1 billion), travel ($8.4 billion), and financial services ($4.6 billion).

Meanwhile, China’s top services imports were transportation ($8.5 billion), other business services ($8.2 billion), and financial services ($1.2 billion).


Redacción Opportimes

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