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The United States exported more than $100 billion in goods and services to China in 2011 and 30 states now count the country as one of their top three export markets.
That's according to a report released by the Washington-based US-China Business Council on Wednesday.
The annual report said China is the third most common destination for US exports, just behind Canada and Mexico, which border the US and have a free-trade agreement with it.
"Exports to China are vital to America's economic health and create good jobs for American workers," said Erin Ennis, vice-president of the US-China Business Council, which represents about 240 American companies doing business in China.
Wang Haifeng, director of international economics at the Institute for International Economic Research, a think tank under the National Development and Reform Commission, said the export figures reveal a great opportunity.
"The fact that a record was set in US exports to China, which shows the great potential of US exports, not only reduces the trade imbalance between the top two economies but also alleviates unemployment in the US and speeds up the US' economic recovery," he said.
Between 2000 and 2011, US exports to China rose by 542 percent - going from $16.2 billion in 2000 to a record $103.9 billion in 2011 - while its exports to the rest of the world only increased by 80 percent. After the recent recession, the US exports to China regained momentum faster than the country's exports to any other place in the world, the council said.
In 2010, US President Barack Obama introduced the National Export Initiative, a plan to double US exports by 2014. Meeting that goal will require exports to increase by at least 15 percent a year on average for five years.
Among markets that receive large amounts of US exports, China is the only one in which they have increased by more than 15 percent a year since 2000, the report said.
Last year in China, the demand for US exports was the greatest for crops, computers, electronics, chemicals and transport equipment.
"American companies from every corner of the nation are exporting high-value computers, electronics, agricultural products, chemicals, transportation equipment and machinery to an expanding marketplace in China," Ennis said.
Wang said US high-tech products have certain advantages and the country should make good on its promise to loosen the restrictions on the export of such products.
"To get more US exports coming into China, both countries should cultivate two promising export categories in the future: services, including technology trade and the transfers of patents, and high-tech products, including high-end manufacturing exports," he said.
Gary Locke, the US ambassador to China, said last week that the US is "in the midst of a major reform and simplification that will enable more high-tech goods to be exported to China".
Shen Danyang, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, said on Saturday that China has not yet seen any real steps taken by the US to loosen export restraints on high-tech products.
Last year, China bought more US agricultural products than any other market in the world, importing about $20 billion worth of them, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
Vice-President Xi Jinping's visit to Iowa in February strengthened agricultural ties between the two countries. Xi's travels brought him to a corn and soybean farm - the Kimberley Farm - a trip that was welcomed by various local farmers.
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