U.S. exports to China had increased 36.5% in the first five months of this year, U.S. undersecretary for international trade Frank Lavin said on July 26.
"My prediction is by the end of this year, China will be the United States' third largest export market, surpassing Japan, if this trend continues," Lavin said.
China imported $41 billion worth of goods from the U.S. last year, he said. Currently Canada, Mexico and Japan are the United States' three biggest export markets.
Among the major concerns in Washington is China's enormous trade surplus with the U.S., which hit a record $201 billion last year. The surplus has fueled accusations in Washington over unfair trade practices by China, including efforts to hold the yuan artificially low to boost exports.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006