U.S. Exports to China Hit US$100 Billion for First Time

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This article includes complimentary downloads of the complete USCBC report and a copy of the China Business Handbook

Mar. 29 – The U.S.-China Business Council has just issued a report detailing the rise of U.S. exports to China, which have passed the US$100 billion milestone for the first time. According to the report, American exports to China reached a record US$103.9 billion in 2011, with 30 U.S. states now counting China among their top three export markets. As a buyer of U.S. goods, China ranks behind only Canada and Mexico—two immediate neighbors with whom the United States has a regional free-trade agreement.

“Exports to China are vital to America’s economic health and create good jobs for American workers,” said USCBC Vice President Erin Ennis. “Between 2000 and 2011, total U.S. exports to China rose 542 percent, from US$16.2 billion in 2000 to a record-breaking US$103.9 billion in 2011. In addition, U.S. exports to China recovered faster after the recession than exports to anywhere else in the world. Clearly, China is a market that is important to U.S. companies’ bottom lines, even in tough economic times.”

“This nearly US$88 billion increase in exports to China from 2000 to 2011 exceeded the increase to every other market for U.S. goods and farm products, with the exception of Canada. U.S. exports to Canada rose US$102 billion over the same period, while U.S. exports to Mexico rose US$86 billion. Brazil was a distant fourth with just a US$28 billion increase in purchases of U.S. products,” 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 twenty of those states have experienced quadruple-digit growth.”

“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 added.

Key points: U.S. states from across the country are benefitting from exports to China.

  • 48 states have registered at least triple-digit export growth to China since 2000, far outpacing growth in their exports to the rest of the world
  • 20 of those states have experienced quadruple-digit growth
  • 10 states have at least doubled their exports to China since 2009, while three of these states— South Carolina, South Dakota, and Vermont—have more than tripled their exports to China in the past two years
  • 30 states now count China as one of their top three export markets and 25 states exported more than US$1 billion to China in 2011, with export categories reflecting a broad range of products

U.S. companies have long been a mainstay of investment into China and the economic principle of the “Lewisian turning point” has manifested itself by demonstrating that China has now developed a sizable middle class. As we mentioned earlier this week in our piece “Why China’s Consumer Development Is Assured,” both demographic and policy factors dictate that this is a trend that is expected to last. China’s middle class is also growing and is expected to grow to some 500 million by 2020.

“The latest trade figures are highly encouraging and underline our decision to expand our China practice into the United States,” Chris Devonshire-Ellis, principal of Dezan Shira & Associates, comments from the firm’s office in Charlotte, North Carolina. “We look forward to assisting American companies prepare themselves for the new dynamism of selling to China, and remain committed to assisting U.S. companies generate profitable businesses in the country.”

Chris wrote about the basics for U.S. companies wishing to sell to China here, while the practice also co-wrote the U.S. Commercial Service’s “China Business Handbook.”

The book and the full USCBC report are available as complimentary downloads as follows:

U.S. Exports to China by State
The U.S.-China Business Council’s annual report on U.S. state exports to China. According to the report, China is once again America’s third largest export market, trailing Canada and Mexico. However, exports have soared in recent years and surpassed the US$100 billion milestone for the first time in 2011.

China Business Handbook
An excellent, complimentary beginners overview to conducting business in China may be obtained courtesy of the U.S. Commercial Service, whose “China Business Handbook” is now in its second edition and was co-written by our practice.

Dezan Shira & Associates maintains 12 China offices and assist international companies with legal establishment, advice over IPR issues, and China strategic development in addition to on-going tax, accounting and due diligence services. The practice was established in 1992 and additionally maintains offices in Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Vietnam.

Dezan Shira & Associates’ U.S. office can be reached by E-mailing jessica.tou@dezshira.com. For more information, please visit www.dezshira.com or download the firm’s brochure here.