China Versus US Key Product Trade Balances

China-USA Conceptual (pixabay.com)

China-USA Trade Conceptual

The People’s Republic of China earned a total US$323.7 billion trade surplus at the expense of the United States of America in 2018. China’s latest yearly positive trade balance with America reflects a 36.6% expansion since 2014 and a 17.3% gain from its $275.9 billion in black ink during 2018.

During the first 6 months of 2019, China grew its trade surplus doing business with the United States via a further $140.2 billion posting a 5.2% uptick compared to the same period in 2018.

To give some context to the magnitude of China’s product surplus from exchanging exported and imported goods with the US, the $323.7 billion Chinese surplus with America in 2018 represents 90.1% of China’s overall $359.2 billion trade surplus during 2018 when all countries are included in our review.

Key USA Product Trade Balances with China

China Surpluses

The following 25 products generated the greatest surpluses for China in its trade with the US in 2018, generating a subtotal $239.3 billion in black ink for the People’s Republic.

  1. Phone system devices including smartphones: US$52.4 billion (up 52.6% from 2014)
  2. Computers, optical readers: $47.3 billion (down -2.6%)
  3. Computer parts, accessories: $12 billion (up 104.4%)
  4. Miscellaneous furniture: $11 billion (up 42.4%)
  5. TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $10.6 billion (up 5.4%)
  6. Automobile parts/accessories: $9.6 billion (up 21.7%)
  7. Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs): $9.5 billion (up 34.5%)
  8. Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs: $8.6 billion (up 34.3%)
  9. Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys: $7.3 billion (up 50.6%)
  10. Cases, handbags, wallets: $6.2 billion (up 4.9%)
  11. Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $6.1 billion (up 23.2%)
  12. Women’s clothing (not knit or crochet): $5.4 billion (up 2.1%)
  13. Table games, bowling equipment: $5.3 billion (up 66%)
  14. Miscellaneous plastic items: $5.2 billion (up 19%)
  15. Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet): $5 billion (up 5.2%)
  16. Footwear (textile): $4.1 billion (up 19.2%)
  17. Microphones/headphones/amps: $4 billion (up 17.6%)
  18. Electrical converters/power units: $3.9 billion (up 20.5%)
  19. Insulated wire/cable: $3.9 billion (up 23.3%)
  20. Printing machinery: $3.8 billion (down -28.7%)
  21. Footwear (leather): $3.8 billion (down -29.5%)
  22. Mattresses, quilts: $3.6 billion (up 46.5%)
  23. Pneumatic hand tools: $3.6 billion (up 55%)
  24. Footwear (rubber or plastic): $3.5 billion (down -19%)
  25. Individual-function electrical machinery: $3.5 billion (up 146.3%)

The fastest-growing Chinese trade surplus garnered from exchanging products with America from 2014 to 2018 was for individual-function electrical machinery thanks to its 146.3% gain.

In second place for China’s growing black ink was computer parts and accessories via a 104.4% expansion, trailed by table games and bowling equipment (up 66%), pneumatic hand tools (up 55%) then phone system devices including smartphones (up 52.6%).

There were four percentage declines since 2014 among China’s top positive trade balances at America’s expense: leather footwear (down -29.5%), printing machinery (down -28.7%), rubber or plastic footwear (down -19%) then computers including optical readers (down -2.6%).

China Deficits

The following 25 products generated the greatest amounts of red ink for China trading with the US in 2018, accounting for a -$80 billion negative subtotal for the People’s Republic exchanging goods with its North American competitor.

  1. Miscellaneous aircraft, spacecraft (e.g. helicopters, launchers): US-$15.2 billion (up 5% from 2014)
  2. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: -$10.6 billion (up 22.6%)
  3. Cars: -$8.1 billion (down -32.7%)
  4. Soya beans: -$7.1 billion (down -56.7%)
  5. Crude oil: -$6.8 billion (reversing a $3,000 surplus in 2014)
  6. Machinery for making semi-conductors: -$3.7 billion (up 130.8%)
  7. Turbo-jets: -$2.8 billion (up 29.4%)
  8. Gold (unwrought): -$2.7 billion (down -38.1%)
  9. Blood fractions (including antisera): -$2.5 billion (up 151.2%)
  10. Petroleum gases: -$2 billion (up 202.7%)
  11. Physical/chemical analysis tools: -$1.8 billion (up 20.7%)
  12. Sawn wood: -$1.6 billion (up 14.3%)
  13. Paper/paperboard waste, scrap: -$1.6 billion (down -36.2%)
  14. Medication mixes in dosage: -$1.4 billion (up 25.2%)
  15. Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving): -$1.4 billion (up 27.9%)
  16. Rough wood: -$1.4 billion (up 2.2%)
  17. Copper waste, scrap: -$1.3 billion (down -39.6%)
  18. Other measuring/testing machines: -$1.2 billion (up 19.4%)
  19. Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays): -$1.2 billion (up 13.1%)
  20. Ethylene polymers: -$1.1 billion (up 55.3%)
  21. Cotton (uncarded, uncombed): -$1.1 billion (down -15.5%)
  22. Polyacetal/ether/carbonates: -$1 billion (up 4.8%)
  23. Aluminum waste, scrap: -$815.6 million (down -34%)
  24. Orthopedic appliances: -$802.4 million (up 48.2%)
  25. Initiators/accelerators, catalytic preps: -$760.9 million (up 2.7%)

The most dramatic deterioration for China in its trade with the US in 2018 was the -$6.8 billion surplus for crude oil, reversing course from its $3,000 in black ink five years earlier.

Generating the greatest percentage expansions for Chinese product deficits won by the US from 2014 to 2018 were petroleum gases (up 202.7%), blood fractions including antisera (up 151.2%), machinery for making semi-conductors (up 130.8%), ethylene polymers (up 55.3%) then orthopedic appliances (up 48.2%).

Leading the shrinkage in China’s product-specific deficits in the trade with the US over the latest 5-year period were soya beans (down -56.7%), copper waste or scrap (down -39.6%), gold (down -38.1%), paper and paperboard waste or scrap (down -36.2%), aluminum waste or scrap (down -34%) then cars (down -32.7%).

Sources

Research Sources:
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 5, 2019

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 5, 2019

See also Top United States Trade Balances, Top Chinese Trade Balances