A promising growth engine

Updated: 2011-08-19 07:57

(China Daily)

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The US-China Business Council has timely highlighted a key fact, which has long been eclipsed by the ballooning and controversial US trade deficit with China, namely that the growth in US exports to China have far outpaced its growth in exports to the rest of the world over the past decade.

This truth deserves not only close attention from US vice-president Joe Biden, who is visiting China to advance steady and sustainable bilateral relations between the world's two largest economies. More importantly, it demands the full attention of US policymakers and politicians who are frequently tempted by anti-China trade protectionism at home.

A report released on Wednesday by the US-China Business Council, a nonprofit organization of roughly 240 leading US companies doing business with China, pointed out that, in 2010, US exports to China rose 32 percent. Meanwhile, more than 76 percent of US congressional districts witnessed their growth in exports to China outperform that of any other market.

Such robust growth in US exports to China is definitely not a short-lived phenomenon.

China is now the third largest export market for the United States, behind Canada and Mexico. In the decade since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, US exports to China have risen 468 percent to $91.9 billion, compared to a 55 percent rise in US exports to the rest of the world.

Given the Obama administration's goal of doubling US exports to more than $3 trillion by 2014, there is no reason why the United States should not make best use of this promising source of growth to help overcome its economic woes.

It is encouraging to hear from Biden that the US government is working on export restriction reforms to increase US competitiveness and stimulate US exports.

The fast-growing US exports to China are testimony to the attractiveness of "Made-in-USA" to Chinese consumers and the huge and growing Chinese appetite for quality imports.

Should the US drop its Cold War mentality over the export of high-tech products, as many other global trade powers already have, it would be very likely that the world's largest economy would enjoy a growing share of the world's fast-growing major import market.

US exports to China have grown quickly but not fast enough to prevent the US' share of China's surging import market from falling from 10 percent in 2000 to only 7 percent in 2010.

Clearly, US efforts to remove unnecessary export restrictions are long overdue. It is hoped that the current urge to revive US exports will bring about some concrete actions in this regard.

Moreover, stubbornly high unemployment in the US is giving rise to trade protectionism that has wrongfully blamed Chinese exporters for stealing US jobs.

US policymakers and politicians should not buy into such protectionism that would cost both countries a vital growth engine in the years ahead.

(China Daily 08/19/2011 page8)