What do some people say?

  • "Companies that spend tens or hundreds of millions developing a family of products... they don't want to put all their eggs in one basket - that's the Chinese basket." more>>
  • "The USICA represents a serious effort to reshore major, expensive manufacturing facilities to the U.S. while further restricting trade with China." more>>
  • “It turns U.S. jurisprudence on its head. As opposed to innocent until proven guilty, it is now guilty until proven innocent.” more>>
  • "The overall challenges that we have with China are also still there and they are very large." more>>
  • The much-troubled China-U.S. trade relations in fact contributed positively to China’s GDP growth for Q1 this year. more>>
  • "There is a bipartisan consensus that the United States must invest in the technologies of the future to out-compete China." more>>
  • “One of the more obvious changes in China’s attitude is that China now recognizes the existence of competition, which was never expressed in the past.” more>>
  • "We're very clear-eyed on the magnitude of the threat that China poses and we're prepared." more>>

Key Facts Tourism

While much focus has been placed on the exchange of physical goods and services between China and the U.S., tourism is an integral part of this economic relationship. Since 2013, over 8,000 U.S. jobs have been created due to Chinese tourism to the U.S., fueling American employment in a variety of sectors such as auto rental, hospitality, and more.

Total Employment (Thousands) Supported by Chinese Tourists Visiting U.S.

Source: U.S.Travel Association

Chinese Tourist Spending in the U.S. By Sector

Millions of chained (2009) dollars

a.Traveler accomodationsb.

b.Food services and drinking placesc.

c.Domestic passenger air transport servicesd.


e.Automotive rental

Source: The Bureau of Economic Analysis

Growth of Chinese Tourists to U.S.

Source: U.S.Ttavel Association

Key Facts Education

Education offers opportunities for the exchange of knowledge, and on campuses across the United States, Chinese and American students are sharing the university experience. During the 2016/2017 school year alone, over 300,000 Chinese students joined their peers in U.S. classrooms, generating over 150,000 jobs for the American economy.

Growth in Chinese Students Studying in U.S.

Source: Statista

For every seven international students enrolled, 3 U.S. jobs are created

Source: U.S.Commerce Department and Association of International Educators

Place of Origin of International Students in the U.S.

As percentage of total international students in 2017

Source: The Institute of International Education

Key Facts Export & Services

International trade has helped build the U.S. into an economic superpower. Although the U.S. has a trade deficit with China, a less-well known fact is that the United States actually ran a $39 billion surplus in services trade with China in 2017.

The U.S. Trade Surplus with China in Services

U.S. Trade Balance with China in Services (Millions of dollars, quarters seasonally adjusted)

Source: The Bueau of Economic Analysis

U.S. goods exports to China accounted for 8% of overall U.S. exports in 2016

Key Facts Companies in the U.S.

Chinese foreign direct investment and Chinese companies based in the U.S. continue to create jobs in the U.S. In 2016, the number of people employed in America by Chinese companies rose by more than 50%.

Chinese Purchasing Power

By 2026, the number of Chinese middle-class consumers will exceed the entire population of the United States. As the Chinese middle class continues to expand over the next decade, U.S. companies face a significant opportunity to sell goods and services to an expanding population of consumers. China is set to buy up to an additional

$90 billion worth of American goods over the next several years, according to Bloomberg, providing the American economy with an opportunity for revenue and job growth.

Value of U.S. Exports to China

Millions of U.S. dollars

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

China’s GDP per capita

In U.S. dollars

Source: World Bank and OECD

Both Sides of the Story

China is often blamed for its trade imbalance with the US. But what’s the other side of the story?

Click on a card to find out.

  • The annual
    US-China trade
    deficit amounts
    to $367.4 billion.

    Statistics used to measure trade flow usually pin the entire trade value of a product to the last place it was exported from, even if its components come from other countries.

  • America doesn’t benefit much from exchanges with China.

    The US runs a large trade surplus with China in services. Although small compared to the trade deficit in goods, this surplus is rapidly growing, increasing from an annual average of less than $2 billion from 2000-2008 to $37.4 billion in 2016.

  • Most Americans don’t benefit from trade with China.

    Chinese products lower prices for US consumers by 1-1.5%. The benefits from Chinese trade allowed the average American household to save $850 in 2015, when median household income was $56,500.

  • The US-China trade imbalance is deliberately caused by the Chinese.

    The US-China trade imbalance is not deliberately caused by the Chinese. It’s due to divisions in the global value chain and structural differences between the industries in the two countries.

  • China is a currency manipulator that actively devalues the yuan to boost its own exports.

    In the past year, if there was any manipulation of the yuan by China, it was to prevent it from devaluing against the US dollar – the opposite of what it would need to do to boost its exports.

  • Help President Trump Decide

    Some quarters in America have urged US President Donald Trump to engage in a trade war with China. Others have counseled him to work with China to reduce the trade imbalance.
    Which way should President Trump decide?

  • ● After the Section 301 investigation by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the US could decide to take protectionist measures against China. Tariffs could be imposed against Chinese goods and services, even perhaps the 45% tariff Trump proposed on the campaign trail.
  • ● Chinese imports to the US would decrease, and many jobs in China will be lost.
  • ● However, because of how much higher wages are in America, it’s unlikely this will result in many new US jobs. Instead, Americans will have to import goods from other countries, like Mexico and Indonesia.
  • ● Because Chinese goods are usually cheaper, however, buying goods from other countries will likely cost ordinary American consumers more. In the book, A Year Without “Made in China,” an American family vowed not to buy any made-in-China products for a year, but they found it increasingly difficult to meet basic living expenses.
  • ● China will retaliate by imposing tariffs on American goods and services, resulting in a loss of many American jobs, particularly in services.
  • ● Relations between both countries will suffer considerably, making it much harder for them to work together on issues of common concern like regional security and climate change.
  • ● The US could decide to work with China to reduce the trade imbalance, something the latter has said it’s open to doing.
  • ● China could be persuaded to increase imports from the US.
  • ● Because China has a lot less arable land compared to the size of its population, it makes sense for it to import more agricultural produce from the US, including rice, chicken, and beef.
  • ● Since the US is now a net exporter of oil, China could import more of its oil from America, instead of from, say, Saudi Arabia.
  • ● There is a great demand in China for high-tech American products. However, the US has export restrictions on some high-tech products to China. For example, China imported $227 billion worth of semi-conductor chips from around the world in 2016, but only 4% came from the US because of US export barriers. If the US were to liberalize export controls on China to the level of control applied to Brazil, the trade deficit could drop by as much as 24%. Easing such restrictions would also result in growth in high-skilled jobs in America.
  • ● President Trump has pledged to increase spending on American infrastructure, but has limited funds to use for that purpose. A possible source of these funds is China. Chinese national savings exceed 40% of GDP each year.The US could be a major investment destination. Whilst there are legitimate national security concerns about foreigners owning US infrastructure, the fact is that this infrastructure is located in the US, and its government could always intervene if national security is threatened.
  • ● To this secure infrastructure investment, the US and China could even sign a bilateral investment treaty, including provisions for any possible disputes.
  • ● Relations between both countries will improve, making it much easier to work together on global problems.
  • ● The US could take any unresolved disputes with China to the WTO Dispute Settlement body. This body could punish China for any practices that violate its treaty obligations. China would have to abide by its rulings or risk its trade privileges.
  • China’s Progress: Technology Transfer & Market Access

    China has often been accused of making foreign companies transfer technology to local entities, and of limiting access to its market. These accusations have some truth to them.
    However, China is working to change this.

    Success Story

    CHINA-US Auto Trade

    The US believes that China’s auto market is not as open as the US, but in fact, US auto companies have benefited greatly from economic and trade cooperation with China.

    In 2016, China imported 255,000 automobiles from the US, amounting to US$12.12 billion. While the US imported 54,000 automobiles from China, amountingto US$1.18 billion, they were mainly produced by US-funded companies in China. According to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), China’s joint venture enterprises with three major brands, i.e. GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, had sold 5.1 million automobiles in 2016.

    China’s Progress: From Imitator to Innovator

    For many years, China has been viewed as an imitator, known for cheap, derivative products. In recent years, however, China is becoming more of an innovator. Chinese nationals are now writing new apps, creating new devices, and designing new clothes. China recognizes that it’s in its interest to support a robust intellectual property framework, as its own inventions and brands need protection too.

    Click a tab to find out more about China’s progress in this area.

    China’s Science Revolution

    China is super-sizing science.

  • FAST Radio Telescope
    FAST Radio Telescope
  • Pig's-eye View
    Pig's-eye View
  • The Neutrinos Hunt
    The Neutrinos Hunt
  • Race to the Deep
    Race to the Deep
  • BeiDou Navigation Satellite System
    BeiDou Navigation Satellite System
  • KJ-2000 Airborne Early
    KJ-2000 Airborne Early-warning and Control Aircraft
  • Tianhe-2 Supercomputer
    Tianhe-2 Supercomputer
  • JF12 Shockwave Hypersonic Wind Tunnel
    JF12 Shockwave Hypersonic Wind Tunnel
  • Super Steel
    Super Steel
  • Lunar Exploration Program
    Lunar Exploration Program

    2017 Nature Index: Countries

    China is the second-biggest producer of top-cited research papers in the world, according to the 2017 Nature Index. One out of five scientific papers from the top Chinese institutions, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Peking University and Tsinghua University, were ranked among the world’s best.

    Source:2017 Nature Index

    2017 Nature Index: Institutions

    The Chinese Academy of Sciences is now ranked by the Nature Index as the top research institution in the world, overtaking Harvard University and the Max Planck Society of Germany.

    Source: 2017 Nature Index

    "Made in China 2025" -- China's "Industry 4.0"

    “Made in China 2025”, known as China’s “Industry 4.0”, is an initiative aiming to transform the country from a low-end manufacturing power into a medium to high-end manufacturing one. The priority sectors include new-generation IT, aviation and space equipment, and energy-saving and new energy vehicles.

    • Aviation & Aerospace

    • Agriculture

    • Electrical Power

    • New Energy Automotive

    • High-End Robotics

    • Next Gen Information Technology

    • New Materials & Composites

    • Rail Transportation

    • Maritime Engineering

    • Biomedical & Advanced Medical Equipment

    PCT Application Ranking in 2016 (by country)

    In 2016, Chinese companies submitted 43,168 PCT applications, up by 44.3%, ranking the 3rd in the world, next only to the United States (56,595) and Japan (45,239). China is likely to overtake the US in two years.

    Source: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

    PCT Application Ranking in 2016 (by company)

    By far, ZTE Corp owns more than 68,000 PCT patents in total, among the top 3 in the world for seven consecutive years. Huawei Technologies Co had won more than 55,000 domestic and international patents by the end of 2016; it was ranked the 8th on the 2016 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard.

    Source: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

    Proportion of R&D Spending in Global Total (by country)

    In 2013, global spending on research and development amounted to $1.671 trillion. The US stayed at the top, and China was the second, with R&D investment reaching $336.5 billion. China's R&D investment increases by an annual rate of 18.3%, far higher than the average of 1.4% among the developed nations.

    Sources:Science & Engineering Indicators 2016 of the National Science Board

    From 1995 to 2015, US' cumulative investment in research and development was $7.1 trillion

    The $7.1 trillion of R&D investment by the US is about 2.5 times China's investment.

    Sources: The National Science Board, Science & Engineering Indicators 2016; Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; BCG analysis
    Note: Total R&D expenditures are measured in current prices, purchasing power parity.

    China is projected to spend up to twice as much as the US on development research by 2018

    The US is the global leader in basic and applied researches. China's R&D investment is rising fast. China's expenditure in late-stage R&D is expected to reach $658 billion in 2018, twice the amount of the US.

    Sources: The National Science Board, Science & Engineering Indicators 2016; Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; BCG analysis
    Note: Total R&D expenditures are measured in current prices, purchasing power parity.