US Exports to China Made a Comeback in 2020 as Phase One Bolstered Trade


Contact in Washington, DC:
Doug Barry ([email protected]; 202-429-0340)
Contact in Beijing:
Matt Margulies ([email protected]; 86-10-6512-5854)
WASHINGTON—May 12, 2021—Last year, US goods exports to China surged by $18.5 billion—up almost 18 percent year-on-year—after hitting a near-decade low in 2019. After two years of trade tensions that hurt American consumers and businesses, market openings and Chinese tariff exclusions in support of purchase commitments stoked US exports, according to a study released today by the US-China Business Council (USCBC), a non-partisan trade association representing more than 200 US companies from a wide range of industries. 

The boost was made possible by huge shipments of agriculture products, semiconductors, and oil and gas products. While goods exports to China grew in 2020 as the Chinese economy recovered from its earliest COVID-19 shutdowns, goods exports to the rest of the world fell by about 15 percent. 

“These exports mean support for American businesses and families, which could not be more important right now,” said USCBC President Craig Allen. “Ultimately, though, the best remedy for boosting trade and creating more US jobs is for both the United States and China to permanently remove tariffs,” Allen continued. “Exclusions are only a temporary solution.”

In 2019, the latest year of available data, services exports to China—which include travel, education, and financial services—dropped by $1.7 billion, or 3 percent. A slowdown in visa processing and a decline in the number of Chinese students and visitors in the United States crimped services exports to China even before COVID-19 decimated travel.

Despite the downturn in services in 2019, combined goods and services exports to China supported nearly 1 million US jobs that year.


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