Americans Would Have No Christmas Without China

June 13, 2016
Without imports from China, there would be no Christmas. At least, no Christmas lights or decorations or ribbon or video game consoles to wrap up and put under the tree.

That’s one conclusion you could draw from this table assembled by Caroline Freund of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Some of the most valuable parts of those cell phones, computers and other tech products imported from China don’t actually come from China. The raw materials are sourced from around the world, while key components are made in the U.S., Japan, Taiwan and elsewhere. Trade is complicated, and it’s also not a zero-sum endeavor in which exports are always good and imports are always bad.Still, it is useful to know what trade flows look like. Here are the top ten U.S. exports to China:

Note that the dollar amounts are a lot smaller in this chart. With $502.6 billion in imports in 2015 and $116.2 billion in exports, according to the UN database, the U.S. continues to run a huge merchandise trade deficit with China. Is that a terrible thing? Not necessarily. It definitely seems to make Christmas more affordable than it would otherwise be.

This article was originally posted on New Equipment Digest, an IndustryWeek companion site within Penton's Manufacturing & Supply Chain Group.

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