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The People's Republic of China

U.S.-China Trade Facts

U.S. goods and services trade with China totaled an estimated $737.1 billion in 2018. Exports were $179.3 billion; imports were $557.9 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with China was $378.6 billion in 2018.

China is currently our largest goods trading partner with $659.8 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2018. Goods exports totaled $120.3 billion; goods imports totaled $539.5 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with China was $419.2 billion in 2018.

Trade in services with China (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $77.3 billion in 2018. Services exports were $58.9 billion; services imports were $18.4 billion. The U.S. services trade surplus with China was $40.5 billion in 2018.

According to the 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 2018.
     
  • U.S. goods exports to China in 2018 were $120.3 billion, down 7.4% ($9.6 billion) from 2017 but up 72.6% from 2008. U.S. exports to China are up 527% from 2001 (pre-WTO accession). U.S. exports to China account for 7.2% of overall U.S. exports in 2018.
     
  • The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2018 were: aircraft ($18 billion), machinery ($14 billion), electrical machinery ($13 billion), optical and medical instruments ($9.8 billion), and vehicles ($9.4 billion).
     
  • U.S. total exports of agricultural products to China totaled $9.3 billion in 2018, our 4th largest agricultural export market. Leading domestic export categories include: soybeans ($3.1 billion), cotton ($924 million), hides & skins ($607 million), pork & pork products ($571 million), and coarse grains (ex. corn) ($530 million).
     
  • U.S. exports of services to China were an estimated $58.9 billion in 2018, 2.2% ($1.3 billion) more than 2017, and 272% greater than 2008 levels. It was up roughly 997% from 2001 (pre-WTO accession). Leading services exports from the U.S. to China were in the travel, intellectual property (trademark, computer software), and transport sectors.

Imports

  • China was the United States' largest supplier of goods imports in 2018.
     
  • U.S. goods imports from China totaled $539.5 billion in 2018, up 6.7% ($34.0 billion) from 2017, and up 59.7% from 2008. U.S. imports from are up 427% from 2001 (pre-WTO accession). U.S. imports from China account for 21.2% of overall U.S. imports in 2018.
     
  • The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2018 were: electrical machinery ($152 billion), machinery ($117 billion), furniture and bedding ($35 billion), toys and sports equipment ($27 billion), and plastics ($19 billion).
     
  • U.S. total imports of agricultural products from China totaled $4.9 billion in 2018, our 3rd largest supplier of agricultural imports. Leading categories include: processed fruit & vegetables ($1.2 billion), fruit & vegetable juices ($393 million), snack foods ($222 million), spices ($167 million), and fresh vegetables ($160 million).
     
  • U.S. imports of services from China were an estimated $18.4 billion in 2018, 5.5% ($963 million) more than 2017, and 68.3% greater than 2008 levels. It was up roughly 414% from 2001 (pre-WTO accession). Leading services imports from China to the U.S. were in the transport, travel, and research and development sectors.

Trade Balance

  • The U.S. goods trade deficit with China was $419.2 billion in 2018, a 11.6% increase ($43.6 billion) over 2017.
     
  • The United States has a services trade surplus of an estimated $41 billion with China in 2018, up 0.8% from 2017.

Investment

  • U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in China (stock) was $107.6 billion in 2017, a 10.6% increase from 2016. U.S. direct investment in China is led by manufacturing, wholesale trade, and finance and insurance.
     
  • China's FDI in the United States (stock) was $39.5 billion in 2017, down 2.3% from 2016. 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 $55.1 billion in 2016 (latest data available), while sales of services in the United States by majority China-owned firms were $8.3 billion.