U.S. and Chinese exports of manufactures grew at a slower pace in 2012, although the 8 percent growth in Chinese exports was almost double the 5 percent U.S. growth. Far more important was the continued surge in the trade imbalances—the U.S. deficit and the Chinese surplus—for a third year. The U.S. deficit rose by 8 percent in 2012, to $498 billion, while the Chinese surplus soared by 15 percent, to $755 billion. The $35 billion increase in the U.S. deficit resulted in the loss of 140,000 to 280,000 American manufacturing jobs.
This report presents these results in detail for U.S. and Chinese trade in manufactures from 2009 to 2012, including for the nine largest high-tech industries that account for over half of the manufactured exports of both countries. It also addresses the extremely lopsided bilateral trade account, which amounts to 70 percent of the global U.S. deficit in manufactures. The report concludes with commentary on the outlook for 2013 and beyond.