China is set to overtake Japan this year as America's third-largest export
market, an American trade official said Wednesday.
US exports to China grew 36.5 percent in the first five months of the year
over the same period in 2005, Under Secretary for International Trade Franklin
L. Lavin told reporters during a visit to China's business hub of Shanghai.
"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
America's top export market is Canada, with Mexico second. China is currently
in fourth place, taking in US$41 billion of US exports last year, up 25 percent
Lavin said export growth encompassed "everything from soybeans to Boeing,"
the US aircraft maker, and that continued strong economic growth in China should
sustain the trend.
"As the Chinese market improves and continues to open I think we'll see these
high rates of growth," he said.
Lavin, who is attending a series of meetings in China through next week, said
he would seek progress in meetings with Chinese officials on irritants in the
Lavin will also be discussing limits to US businesses and services in China,
among the barriers he said that help create the damaging perception in America
that China doesn't play fair. Such sentiments have undercut efforts by Chinese
companies to enter the US market, such as the failed attempt last year by
state-controlled CNOOC Ltd. to buy Unocal Corp.
"If the Chinese market is perceived as unfair, if it's perceived as closed
and we have a substantial trade deficit, these two factors together can feed an
anti-Chinese sentiment in the United States, which I feel is unhealthy for both
countries," Lavin said.
He also said he would argue in favor of bids by US companies for chunks of
Chinese firms, including a US$3 billion (euro2.5 billion) offer by a consortium
led by Citigroup Inc. for a stake in Guangdong Development