Politics

-$35,952,800,000: U.S.-China Trade Deficit Set January Record

ChinaThe U.S. merchandise trade deficit with the People’s Republic of China set a record for the month of January, hitting $35,952,800,000, according to data released today by the Census Bureau.

That was up 12.5 percent from the previous record, which was the $31,952,560,000 merchandise trade deficit (in constant January 2018 dollars) that the U.S. ran with the PRC in January 2017.

The last time the United States ran a merchandise trade surplus with China in the month of January was 1985, when the U.S. ran a $26,100,000 surplus.

In calendar year 2017, the United States ran a $375,227,500,000 merchandise trade deficit with the People’s Republic of China. That was by far the largest bilateral merchandise trade deficit the U.S. ran with any country for that year.

The second largest U.S. merchandise trade deficit in 2017 was the $71,056,500,000 deficit with Mexico. China’s one-month deficit of $35,952,800,000 in January equaled more than 50 percent (50.59 percent) of last year’s entire deficit with Mexico.

The third largest bilateral merchandise trade deficit that the U.S. ran last year was with Japan ($68,847,700,000), the fourth largest was with Germany ($64,252,000,000) and the fifth largest was with Vietnam ($38,320,000,000.)

Two of the largest bilateral trade deficits the U.S. ran last year—those with China and Vietnam—were with countries that have communist governments.

The United Kingdom was the seventh largest merchandise trading partner of the United States in 2017 when measured by the total value of both imports and exports. It was also the largest trading partner with which the U.S. ran a merchandise trade surplus in 2017.

The U.S. exported $56,328,800,000 to the U.K. during the year and imported $53,074,900,000—running an annual surplus of $3,253,900,000.

In January, the United States exported $4,779,900,000 to the U.K. and imported $4,549,000,000—running a monthly surplus of $230,900,000.

By contrast, the United States exported $130,369,500,000 in merchandise to the People’s Republic of China in 2017 and imported $505,597,100,000, resulting in the $375,227,500,000 deficit.

In January, the United States exported $9,835,300,000 in merchandise to China and imported $45,788,000,000, resulting in the $35,952,800,000 monthly deficit.

According to the CIA World Factbook, China had a population of 1,379,302,771 as of July 2017. That means that during 2017, the $130,369,500,000 in U.S. merchandise that the Chinese bought equaled about $94.52 per capita.

The United Kingdom by contrast had a population of 64,769,452 as of July 2017, according to the CIA. That means that the $56,328,800,000 in U.S. merchandise that the British bought during 2017 equaled about $869.68 per capita.

The $869.68 per capita in U.S. goods the U.K. bought in 2017 was $775.16 (or about 820 percent) more than the $94.52 per capita that the Chinese bought.

The Gross Domestic Product of the People’s Republic of China was about $23,120,000,000,000 in 2017, according to the CIA. That means the $130,369,500,000 in U.S. goods that China bought during the year equaled about 0.56 percent of China’s GDP.

The Gross Domestic Product of the United Kingdom was about $2,880,000,000,000 in 2017, according to the CIA. That means the that the $56,328,800,000 in U.S. merchandise that the British bought during 2017 equaled about 1.96 percent of GDP.

From - CNSNews.com - by Terrence P. Jeffrey

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Kim
3 years ago

I prefer to incentivize than to penalize. With recent tax reform legislation (incentive), the American steel and aluminum industries should see a much-needed resuscitation, but this will not happen overnight. It will be a slow recovery. I would have preferred a delay in playing the tariff card until we could have assessed whether or not tax reform was sufficient in getting those sectors of the American economy up and running. Besides, China can lower their prices (by continuing to heavily subsidize their manufacturers), factor in the tariffs, and still manage to slip plenty of product across our border. Selectively raising tariffs will raise the ire of our trading partners, and we don’t want to enter into a global trade war.
I’m no expert in this field, but, as a former businessperson, I can see where millions of American jobs DEPEND on cheap imports to keep their companies in the black. Pundits are commenting that the tariffs will raise the price of my next car by only $150 or so—I doubt it. Who wants to pay hundreds more for a car than we already do? A boomerang effect of tariffs on materials can drive dealerships to engage in profit-cutting in order to make the sale….and, granted—this is the American way…but then we’re right back where we started: importing taxed raw materials and paying higher prices for the finished product unless retail is willing to accept lower profits. The final question is: Can American manufacturers produce high-quality goods at better prices than the imports now afford us, and will tax reform be the better swimmer and keep our economy afloat?

Bill in TX
3 years ago

China has continuously violated trade by dumping raw resources such as steel in the US and world markets. China, as pointed out by Brian B, shows no respect for patents and world business laws. Do we really want a trading partner with no regard for laws? Everybody has come down hard on President Trump regarding trade tariffs but something has to be done. We have allowed foreign partners to ignore laws and agreements. I see no alternative but to use tariffs. The Washington bureaucrats have been busy filling their bank accounts with bribes and under the table deal payouts regarding trade instead of enforcing laws and trade agreements.

Brian B
3 years ago

Ever since Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton opened Communist China to world markets, China has stolen billions of dollars worth of proprietary research data from American businesses, including US military suppliers. The data continues to be stolen via Internet hacking, and other means of espionage. China now illegally manufactures goods that should have been protected by International Patents, and they continue to do so with impunity. They steal our technology, our business research, our jobs, our military secrets. Given China’s toxic Communist motives, why do we have a trade deficit with the People’s Republic of China exceeding 375 billion dollars?

Hank
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian B

Judging from our national debt, China dumping is masking the inflation we would otherwise be facing. Tariffs would ensure inflation. That being said, the dumping can drive competition out of business, then Chinese business would have more of a monopoly, and control pricing. They can raise their prices until they see competition ramping up, then drop prices to force the competition to fold and default on borrowing. It’s a tenuous situation. We basically can’t compete with a union-free China.

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