HONG KONG — The good news and bad news of America’s trade relationship with China can be summed up in a single word: soybeans.
First, the good news. Last year was a banner year for American exports. The United States shipped more than $120 billion of goods to the People’s Republic, according to data from the US International Trade Commission. That’s a new high — nearly 7 percent over the 2012 total.
Even better news: American exports to China are growing faster than the reverse. US imports from China rose only 3.3 percent in 2013.
Since 2003, US exports to China have grown by 389 percent. Only one country, Brazil, had a faster-growing appetite for what American sells. China is now the third biggest market for US merchandise after our NAFTA neighbors, Canada and Mexico.
Now for the bad news. The trade gap is still so vast that even if this great growth rate continues, it would take 38 years for America to close it. (At which point, presumably, America’s top export would be Ford Tough© Flying Cars.)
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