Current trade between the US and China

Thirty old ages ago, China was a state largely closed to international commercialism. Today, it is the universe ‘s 3rd largest merchandising power. China ‘s outgrowth over this period as a major international participant has non merely redefined the planetary trading system, but besides has far-reaching economic and political impact on China, the US, East Asia and the universe.

China ‘s integrating into the planetary economic system and progressive embracing of market rules have been encouraged by more than 25 old ages of U.S. political and economic battle, pursued on a mostly bipartizan footing across disposals. These developments have helped broaden and intensify relationships between the US and China at all degrees, to the benefit of both states. In this context, a series of US-China trade and macroeconomic differences have emerged, taking to new emphasiss in US-China trade dealingss and worsening some bing points of clash.

This study will place the current trade clash between the US and China, every bit good as the nature, nucleus rules and implicit in causes of the difference. Besides, this study will concentrate on set uping a preferable policy response for both parties from the position of keeping a stable planetary concern environment.

Current trade between the US and China

US Trade With China

US-China trade rose quickly after the two states established diplomatic dealingss ( January 1979 ) , signed a bilateral trade understanding ( July 1979 ) , and provided common most-favored-nation ( MFN ) intervention get downing in 1980. In recent old ages, China has been one of the fastest turning U.S. export markets and the importance of this market is expected to turn even further as life criterions continue to better and a ample Chinese in-between category emerges.

The U.S. trade shortage with China has surged in recent old ages as imports from China have grown much faster than U.S. exports to China. That shortage rose from $ 30 billion in 1994 to $ 256 billion in 2007. The U.S. trade shortage with China is significantly larger than that with any other U.S. trading spouse. In 2007, it was more than twice every bit big as with OPEC, every bit good as the 27 states that make up the European Union, and three times larger than the trade shortage with Japan.

Figure: U.S. Merchandise Trade with China: 1980-2007 ( $ in one million millions )

Figure: U.S. Merchandise Trade Balances with Major Trading Spouses 2007

( $ in one million millions )

Major US Exports to China

U.S. ware exports to China in 2007 were $ 65.2 billion, up 18.1 % over the old twelvemonth. China overtook Japan to go the 3rd largest export market in 2007. U.S. exports to China in 2007 accounted for 5.6 % of entire U.S. exports. The top five U.S. exports to China in 2007 were aircraft and parts, semiconducting materials and electronic constituents, waste and bit, oil-rich seeds and grain, and rosins and man-made gum elastic and fibres. China is a important market for U.S. agricultural merchandises. It was the 4th largest finish for U.S. agricultural exports in 2007 at $ 8.3 billion. U.S. agricultural exports grew by 24 % in 2007 over the old twelvemonth. Over the past few old ages, China has been one of the fastest turning U.S. export market among major U.S. trading spouses, as can be seen in. U.S. exports to China rose by about 240 % from 2001 to 2007, which was significantly higher than that of any other top 10-trading spouse.

Figure: Major U.S. Exports to China: 2003-2007

( $ in one million millions and % alteration )

Figure: U.S. Merchandise Exports to Major Trading Spouses in 2001 and 2007

( $ in one million millions and % alteration )

Many trade analysts argue that China could turn out to be a much more important market for U.S. exports in the hereafter. China ‘s end of overhauling its substructure and upgrading its industries is predicted to bring forth significant demand for foreign goods and services. China ‘s turning economic system and big population make it a potentially tremendous market. To exemplify: China presently has the universe ‘s largest Mobile phone web, and one of the fastest-growing markets, with an estimated 600 million cellular phone users ( as of June 2007 ) , compared to 87 million users in 2000.

However, some U.S. trade analysts contend that China continues to prosecute industrial policies aimed at advancing the development of industries that have been deemed by the authorities as critical for Chinese future economic development. They claim such policies seek to curtail imports of finished merchandises, therefore coercing foreign houses to put in China to derive entree to the domestic market. They note a important degree of U.S. exports to China is natural stuffs, parts, and constituents used to bring forth finished goods for export.

Major US Imports from China

China in 2007 became, for the first clip, the largest beginning of U.S. imports. In 2007, imports from China totaled $ 321.5 billion, accounting for 16.5 % of entire U.S. imports in 2007. The importance ( ranking ) of China as a beginning of U.S. imports has risen dramatically, from 8th largest in 1990, to foremost in 2007. The top five U.S. imports from China, in 2007, were computing machines and parts, assorted manufactured articles ( such as playthings, games, etc. ) , communications equipment, dress, and sound and picture equipment.

Figure: Top Five U.S. Imports from China 2003-2007

( $ in one million millions and % alteration )

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, about all of U.S. imports from China were low-value, labour-intensive merchandises such as playthings and games, consumer electronic merchandises, footwear, and fabrics and dress. However, over the past few old ages, an increasing proportion of U.S. imports from China has comprised of more technologically advanced merchandises, such as computing machines. Many analysts contend that the crisp addition in U.S. imports from China is mostly the consequence of motion in production installations from other ( chiefly ) Asiatic states to China. That is, assorted merchandises that used to be made in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc. , and so exported to the US are now being made in China ( in many instances, by foreign houses in China ) and exported to the US.

Figure: Major Foreign Suppliers of U.S. Computer Equipment Imports 2000-2007

( $ in one million millions and % alteration )

Besides, China is going a major provider of U.S. agricultural merchandises, including fish, veggies and fruit, tea and spices, feeding material for animate beings, and sugar merchandises.

Major US-China Trade Issues

Although China ‘s economic reforms and rapid economic growing have expanded U.S.-China commercial dealingss in recent old ages, tensenesss have arisen over a broad assortment of issues. Several measures have been introduced to react to several of these issues.

Health and Safety Concerns Over Certain Imports from China

Reports throughout 2007 of tainted or insecure nutrient and consumer merchandises ( including seafood, favored nutrient, plaything, and tyres ) from China raised concerns in the US over the wellness, safety, and quality of imports from China. Some analysts contend that China maintains a hapless regulative model for implementing its wellness and safety ordinances and criterions, and that this is turn outing to be a turning job for U.S. consumers.

In 2007 and early 2008, there were legion callbacks, warnings, and import limitations affecting Chinese merchandises. For illustration, The Consumer Product Safety Commission ( CPSC ) has issued qui vives and announced voluntary callbacks by U.S. companies on legion merchandises made in China. From January-December 2007, over four-fifths of CPSC callback notices have involved Chinese merchandises. Over this period, approximately 17.6 million playthings were recalled because of inordinate lead degrees. Recalls were besides issued on 9.5 million Chinese made playthings ( because of the danger of loose magnets ) , 4.2 million “ Aqua Dots ” plaything ( because beads contain a chemical that can turn toxic if ingested ) and 1 million plaything ovens ( due to possible finger entrapment and burn hazzards ) .

China ‘s Poor Regulatory System and Deductions

China is believed to hold a instead weak wellness and safety government for manufactured goods and agricultural merchandises. Problems include:

Weak consumer protection Torahs and ill enforced ordinances

Lack of reviews and uneffective punishments for codification lawbreakers, underfunded and short-handed regulative bureaus and hapless interagency cooperation

The proliferation of bogus goods

The being of legion unaccredited manufacturers

Falsified export paperss

Extensive pollution

Intense competition that frequently induces houses to cut corners

The comparative absence of consumer protection protagonism groups

Failure by Chinese companies to efficaciously supervise the quality of their providers ‘ merchandises

Restrictions on the media

Extensive authorities corruptness and deficiency of answerability

Particularly at the local authorities degree

Although China has criticized the US for its recent actions against insecure Chinese merchandises, it has pledged to better and beef up nutrient and drug safety supervising and criterions, beef up reviews, require safety certifications before some merchandises can be sold, and to check down on authorities corruptness. For illustration, On September 12, 2007, the NHTSA signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with its Chinese opposite number on enhanced cooperation and communicating on vehicles and automotive equipment safety.

China ‘s Currency Policy

Between 1994 and July 2005, China pegged its currency, the Renminbi ( RMB ) or Yuan, to the U.S. dollar at about 8.28 Yuans to the dollar. In order to keep a mark rate of exchange with the dollar, the authorities has maintained limitations and controls over capital minutess and has made large-scale purchases of U.S. dollars ( and dollar assets ) . Chinese functionaries view economic stableness every bit critical to prolonging political stableness ; they fear an apprehended currency could cut down occupations and lower rewards in several sectors and therefore do worker unrest.

U.S. critics of China ‘s currency policy contend that the low value of the Yuan has forced other East Asiatic economic systems to maintain the value of their currencies lower than the U.S. dollar in order to vie with Chinese merchandises. They further note that while China is still a underdeveloped state, it has been able to roll up monolithic foreign exchange militias ( estimated to hold reached about $ 1.5 trillion at the terminal of 2007 ) and therefore has the resources to keep the stableness of its currency if it were to the full exchangeable. They besides argue that appreciating the Yuan would greatly profit China by take downing the cost of imports and by equilibrating economic growing to include greater domestic ingestion. On the other manus, some analysts have indicated concern that forcing China to appreciate its currency could do it to diminish purchases of U.S. Treasury securities, which might ensue in higher U.S. involvement rates. China is the 2nd largest foreign buyer ( after Japan ) of U.S. Treasury securities, which totaled $ 406 billion at the terminal of 2007.

China and the World Trade Organization

Negotiations for China ‘s accession to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade ( GATT ) and its replacement organisation, the WTO, began in 1986 and took over 15 old ages to finish. During the WTO dialogues, The US insisted that China could come in the WTO merely if it well liberalized its trade government. In the terminal, China ‘s WTO rank was officially approved at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar on November 10, 2001, and on December 11, 2001, it officially joined the WTO.

China has made great paces in implementing cardinal facets of its WTO committednesss. For illustration, its mean overall duty has dropped to from 15.6 % in 2001 to 9.9 % in 2006 and a figure of non-tariff steps have been eliminated. However, there have been several countries where China ‘s execution is considered to be uncomplete, including:

Failure by the Chinese authorities to keep an effectual IPR enforcement government

Industrial policies that attempt to advance Chinese houses ( while know aparting against foreign houses )

Restrictions on trading and distribution rights ( particularly in respects to IPR merchandises )

Discriminatory and unpredictable wellness and safety regulations on imports ( agricultural merchandises )

Burdensome ordinances and limitations on services ( including inordinate capital demands )

Failure to supply equal transparence of trade Torahs and ordinances

When China joined the WTO, it agreed to supply a full description of all its subsidy plans, but to day of the month has failed to to the full make so. In add-on, China agreed to do its state-owned endeavors operate harmonizing to market rules ; yet such houses continue to have way and subsidies.

Misdemeanors of U.S. Intellectual Property Rights

U.S. houses contend that IPR buccaneering in China has worsened in recent old ages, despite Chinese authorities promises to beef up IPR enforcement by increasing condemnable prosecutions of IPR wrongdoers ( and toughening punishments ) , improve coordination among IPR enforcement functionaries, and do a long term concentrated attempt to stomp out major buccaneering centres. Nine out of 10 film DVDs are bogus, and 2005 losingss from buccaneering in China were estimated at $ 244 million. Pirated music, music picture, and films are besides widely distributed over the Internet in China. The Chinese authorities estimations that forgeries constitute between 15 % and 20 % of all merchandises made in China and are tantamount to approximately 8 % of China ‘s one-year GDP.

Opinions differ as to why the Chinese authorities has been unable make a important decrease in the degree of buccaneering in China. Some accounts put frontward by assorted analysts include:

China ‘s transmutation from a Soviet-style bid economic system ( in which the authorities owned and controlled about every facet of the economic life ) to one that is going more market-based is a really recent happening. IPR is a comparatively foreign or unfamiliar construct for most people in China to hold on ( as is the construct of private belongings rights ) and therefore it is hard for the authorities to convert the populace that buccaneering is incorrect.

Chinese leaders want to do China a major manufacturer of capital-intensive and high engineering merchandises and therefore they are tolerant of IPR buccaneering if its helps Chinese houses become more technologically advanced.

While the cardinal authorities may be to the full committed to protection of IPR, local authorities functionaries are frequently less enthusiastic to make so because production of pirated merchandises generates occupations and revenue enhancement gross, and some functionaries may be obtaining payoffs or other benefits which prompts them to digest buccaneering.

As a underdeveloped state, China ( like many other developing states ) lacks the resources and a sophisticated legal system to travel after and punish IPR lawbreakers, and that set uping an effectual enforcement government will take clip.

As a practical affair, IPR enforcement in China will ever be debatable until Chinese-owned companies begin to set force per unit area on the authorities to protect their ain trade names and other IPR-related merchandises.

Chinese trade barriers and regulative limitations on IPR-related merchandises and their distribution are so burdensome that they prevent legitimate merchandises from come ining the market, or raise costs so high that they are unaffordable to the mean single, therefore making a immense demand for low-priced pirated merchandises.

Using U.S. Countervailing Laws to China

Many critics of Chinese trade policies contend that the Chinese authorities provides a important degree of subsidies to many of its industries, such as discriminatory bank loans and grants, debt forgiveness, and revenue enhancement interruptions and discounts. In add-on, some analysts charge that China ‘s currency policy constitutes a signifier of authorities export subsidy. Such critics contend that U.S. offseting Torahs, which seek to turn to the negative impact foreign authorities subsidies on exported merchandises may hold on U.S. manufacturers in the US, should be applied to nonmarket economic systems such as China. Until really late, the Commerce Department contended that U.S. offseting Torahs could non be applied to a non-market economic system because of the premise that most production and monetary values in such an economic system are determined by the authorities, and therefore it would be impractical to find the degree of authorities subsidy that might be conveyed to assorted exported merchandises. However, in November 2006, the Commerce Department decided to prosecute a countervailing instance against certain imported Chinese coated free sheet paper merchandises. On March 30, 2007, the Commerce Department issued a preliminary opinion to enforce offseting responsibilities ( runing from 11 % to 20 % ) against the merchandises in inquiry.

Preferable policy response

To get the better of challenges, there are a figure of policies together with cardinal actions points, which are able to keep both states reasonably shared benefits and a stable planetary concern environment:

Increase Coordination with Other Trading Spouses: The US will work more closely with other merchandising spouses on China trade issues of common involvement, such as enforcement of rational belongings rights and China ‘s execution of its WTO duties.

Deepen and Strengthen Regional Engagement: The US will prosecute increased trade liberalisation and expanded trade dealingss with other Asiatic economic systems and within APEC. This increased battle will assist to keep and heighten U.S. commercial relationships with these economic systems, even as China besides strengthens its commercial relationships with them. All together, it should assist spur farther market entree and reform in China ‘s trade government, every bit good as addition impulse for many-sided trade liberalisation within the WTO.

Increase Focus on Regulatory Reform in China: The US will step-up attempts to advance regulative reform in China, in topographic point of subsidies and administrative steps and policies that distort resource allotment and trade flows, including:

Intensifying and spread outing the State Department ‘s high-ranking duologue with China ‘s economic contrivers sing structural reform.

Broadening and escalating appraisal of subsidies in China and go oning force per unit area on the Chinese authorities to follow with its subsidy-related duties under the WTO, including doing a full WTO subsidy presentment.

Expanding USDA-led enterprises to better China ‘s transparence and conformity with its SPS duties under the WTO.

Giving intensive attending to China ‘s development of criterions and of an anti-monopoly jurisprudence.

Increase Effectiveness of High-Level Meetings between the US and China ‘s Leaderships: should go on to keep one-year, elevated meetings prior to presidential-level meetings, where possible, and behavior periodic reappraisals of ends and advancement.

Strengthen and Expand Bilateral Dialogues on Numerous Current and Potential Problem Areas: Dialogue on Engagement in Global Institutions, Dialogue on Services, Dialogue on Subsidies and Structural Issues, Dialogue on Standards, Labor Dialogue, Dialogue on Environmental Protection, Dialogue on China ‘s Administration of Antidumping Laws.

Strengthen U.S. Government Interagency Coordination: The Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee ( TPCC ) will escalate its attempts to direct U.S. export publicity enterprises for China and guarantee that they are optimally effectual, and China trade and export publicity policies are complementary.

Strengthen the Executive-Congressional Partnership on China Trade: originate a plan of regular briefings for Congressional members and staff, to update them on advancement in prosecuting the aims outlined in this study and to guarantee that the Administration ‘s China trade policy is informed by Congressional precedences.

The economic and geopolitical landscape of the twenty-first century will be greatly influenced by the manner, in which the United States and China work together. That emerging future requires a distinguishable vision and effectual mechanisms to accomplish it. By set uping those policies, they will let both the United States and China to get down to compose the following chapter of our strategic economic relationship.


Whatever their geopolitical differences, both states portion an tremendous interest in furthering unfastened trade and investing. Both states risk immense losingss if their commercial dealingss are engulfed by a moving ridge of protection and recrimination. However, both can portion tremendous additions if their joint policies guarantee the continued enlargement of universe trade and investing.