US-China trade deficit hits record high in 2013

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By AMY HE in New York amyhe@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

The US-China trade deficit for 2013 hit a record high, as both ex­port and im­port to­tals in­creased, ac­cord­ing to the US Depart­ment of Com­merce.

Ex­ports for the year to­taled $122 bil­lion and im­ports to­taled $440.4 bil­lion, up from $110.5 bil­lion and $425.6 bil­lion in 2012, re­spec­tively, ac­cord­ing to the fig­ures re­leased on Thurs­day. Ex­ports in­creased pri­mar­ily in civil­ian air­craft, en­gines, and equip­ment, and im­ports in­creased pri­mar­ily in cell phones and house­hold goods.

Last year the goods deficit with China, with whom the US has had the largest trad­ing deficit ev­ery year since 2000, in­creased to $318.4 bil­lion from $315.1 bil­lion in 2012.

The US ex­ported $13.1 bil­lion to China in De­cem­ber, a drop from $13.2 bil­lion in Novem­ber. It im­ported $37.6 bil­lion in De­cem­ber, down from $40.1 bil­lion in Novem­ber.

US Se­na­tor Max Bau­cus, ap­proved on Thurs­day by the Se­nate to be the US am­bas­sador to China, said at his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing last week that in his new post he would pri­or­i­tize bi­lat­eral trade.

“I have be­come a firm be­liever that a strong geopo­lit­i­cal re­la­tion­ship can be born out of a strong eco­nomic re­la­tion­ship, which of­ten be­gins with trade,” Bau­cus said. Tes­ti­fy­ing be­fore the Se­nate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee, he also said that he would work on build­ing a “more eq­ui­table eco­nomic re­la­tion­ship be­tween our two coun­tries.” The bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship is “the most im­por­tant in the world” and both coun­tries need to “get it right,” he said.

Bau­cus, who was chair­man of the Se­nate Fi­nance Com­mit­tee, which over­sees for­eign trade pol­icy, has backed Bei­jing’s en­try into the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion and has sup­ported nor­mal­ized trade re­la­tions with China.

In the last three decades, US-China trade has surged to $562 bil­lion in 2013 from $5 bil­lion in 1981, ac­cord­ing to the Con­gres­sional Re­search Ser­vice. But the US’s trade deficit with China has been “sig­nif­i­cantly larger” than that with any other coun­try, and crit­ics of US-China trade have ac­cused China of un­der­valu­ing its cur­rency in or­der to gain un­fair trade ad­van­tages and that China’s sub­si­dies for state-owned en­ti­ties were ob­sta­cles to free trade.

US trade suf­fered from weaker ex­ports in De­cem­ber, lead­ing to a wider trade deficit. To­tal ex­ports for De­cem­ber dropped by 1.8 per­cent to $191.3 bil­lion and im­ports to­taled $230 bil­lion, with a deficit of $38.7 bil­lion, which is up from $34.6 bil­lion in Novem­ber.

Ex­ports for the year in­creased to $2.3 tril­lion, a record high, up from $2.2 tril­lion in 2012. Im­ports de­creased from $2.745 tril­lion in 2012 to $2.744 tril­lion in 2013. The trade deficit for 2013 was $471.5 bil­lion, a four-year low, bol­stered by less­en­ing de­mand of for­eign oil and stronger US ex­ports of petroleum oil.

The US also hit a record trade deficit with the Euro­pean Union in 2013 at $125.1 bil­lion, up from $115.8 bil­lion in 2012. With Ja­pan, the US goods deficit nar­rowed to $73.4, a 4 per­cent drop.

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