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The People's Republic of China

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U.S.-China Trade Facts

U.S. goods and services trade with China totaled an estimated $648.5 billion in 2016.  Exports were $169.8 billion; imports were $478.8 billion.  The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with China was $385 billion in 2016.

China is currently our largest goods trading partner with $578.2 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2016. Goods exports totaled $115.6 billion; goods imports totaled $462.6 billion.  The U.S. goods trade deficit with China was $347.0 billion in 2016.

Trade in services with China (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $70.3 billion in 2016. Services exports were $54.2 billion; services imports were $16.1 billion. The U.S. services trade surplus with China was $38.0 billion in 2016. 

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of goods and services to China supported an estimated 911,000 jobs in 2015 (latest data available) (601,000 supported by goods exports and 309,000 supported by services exports).

Exports

  • China was the United States' 3rd largest goods export market in 2016.

  • U.S. goods exports to China in 2016 were $115.6 billion, down 0.3% ($330 million) from 2015 but up 115.4% from 2006. U.S. exports to China are up 503% from 2001 (pre-WTO accession). U.S. exports to China account for 8.0% of overall U.S. exports in 2016.

  • The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2016 were:  miscellaneous grain, seeds, fruit (i.e., soybeans) ($15 billion), aircraft ($15 billion), electrical machinery ($12 billion), machinery ($11 billion) and vehicles ($11 billion).

  • U.S. exports of agricultural products to China totaled $21 billion in 2016, our 2nd largest agricultural export market. Leading export categories include: soybeans ($1 billion), coarse grains (ex. corn) ($1.0 billion), hides and skins ($949 million), pork and pork products ($713 million) and cotton ($553 million).

  • U.S. exports of services to China were an estimated $54.2 billion in 2016, 11.6% ($5.6 billion) more than 2015 and 412% greater than 2006 levels.  It was up roughly 908% from 2001 (pre-WTO accession). Leading services exports from the U.S. to China in 2015 were in the travel, intellectual property (trademark, computer software) and transport sectors.

Imports

  • China was the United States' largest supplier of goods imports in 2016.

  • U.S. goods imports from China totaled $462.6 billion in 2016, down 4.3% ($20.6 billion) from 2015, but up 60.8% from 2006.  U.S. imports from China are up 352% from 2001 (pre-WTO accession).  U.S. imports from China account for 21.1% of overall U.S. imports in 2016.

  • The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2016 were: electrical machinery ($129 billion), machinery ($97 billion), furniture and bedding ($29 billion), toys and sports equipment ($24 billion) and footwear ($15 billion).

  • U.S. imports of agricultural products from China totaled $4.3 billion in 2016, our 3rd largest supplier of agricultural imports.  Leading categories include: processed fruit and vegetables ($1.1 billion), fruit and vegetable juices ($328 million), snack foods ($213 million), fresh vegetables ($205 million) and tea ($152 million).

  • U.S. imports of services from China were an estimated $16.1 billion in 2016, 7.1% ($1.1 billion) more than 2015 and 59.2% greater than 2006 levels.  It was up roughly 351% from 2001 (pre-WTO accession). Leading services imports from China to the United States in 2015 were in the travel, transport and research and development sectors.

Trade Balance

  • The U.S. goods trade deficit with China was $347.0 billion in 2016, a 5.5% decrease ($20.2 billion) over 2015.

  • The United States has a services trade surplus of an estimated $38 billion with China in 2016, up 13.6% from 2015.

Investment

  • U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in China (stock) was $92.5 billion in 2016 (latest data available), a 9.4% increase from 2015. U.S. direct investment in China is led by manufacturing, wholesale trade and nonbank holding companies.

  • China's FDI in the United States (stock) was $27.5 billion in 2016 (latest data available), up 63.8% from 2015. China's direct investment in the U.S. is led by manufacturing, real estate and depository institutions.

  • Sales of services in China by majority U.S.-owned affiliates were $55.2 billion in 2015 (latest data available), while sales of services in the United States by majority China-owned firms were $5.7 billion.