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Exports, Imports and Trade Balance

Key Trends

  • The U.S. merchandise trade deficit with China increased for the fifth straight year, increasing by 16 percent to $235.4 billion, reflecting the continued U.S. demand for goods produced in China. China is the fourth largest export market for the United States and the second leading import source in terms of absolute value.
  • Continued economic growth in China, coupled with China’s increasing role as a low-cost production location contributed to the expansion in U.S.-China trade in 2006.
  • U.S. exports to China rose at a greater rate than the preceding years, by $12.8 billion, or 33 percent. The most significant increases in U.S. exports were in electronic products ($3.2 billion), transportation equipment ($2.5 billion), and minerals and metals ($2.5 billion).
  • Increased demand for computer and telecommunications products by U.S. consumers contributed to continued growth in U.S. imports from China, increasing by $6.3 billion (16 percent) and $3.7 billion (26 percent), respectively. In 2006, the U.S. telecommunications market grew at the fastest rate since 2000, with demand for services such as broadband leading to increase demand for telecommunications and network equipment.

Trade Shifts in 2006 from 2005

  • U.S. trade deficit: Increased by $31.6 billion (16 percent) to $235.4 billion
  • U.S. exports: Increased by $12.8 billion (33 percent) to $51.6 billion
  • U.S. imports: Increased by $44.4 billion (18 percent) to $287.1 billion

USITC Publications

Access to Capital in China: Competitive Conditions for Foreign and Domestic Firms

Distinctive Patterns & Prospects in China-Latin America Trade, 1999-2005

The Effects of Increasing Chinese Demand on Global Commodity Markets

Measuring the Vertical Specialization in Chinese Trade

U.S.-China Competition in the Indian Market

The Dynamic Structure of U.S-China Trade, 1995-2004

The Effects of Increasing Chinese Demand on Global Commodity Markets

Tsuji, Karl, & Webster, Judith-Anne. (2006): “Aluminum,” The Effects of Increasing Chinese Demand on Global Commodity Markets, Staff Research Study No. 28, Publ. No. 3864, U.S. International Trade Commission, Office of Industries, Washington, DC, June 2006, pp. 3-1 to 3-14.

Houck, Gerald. (2006): “Ferrous Scrap,” The Effects of Increasing Chinese Demand on Global Commodity Markets, Staff Research Study No. 28, Publ. No. 3864, U.S. International Trade Commission, Office of Industries, Washington, DC, June 2006, pp. 5-1 to 5-8.

Government Resources

China Business Information Center

U.S. Department of State
Background Note - China

U.S. Department of Commerce
Office of China Economic Area (OCEA)

People's Republic of China, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Office of North America and Oceania
People's Republic of China, Ministry of Commerce

U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission
2006 Annual Report

Congressional Budget Office
China’s Growing Demand for Oil and Its Impact on U.S. Petroleum Markets

U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration
Country Analysis Brief–China