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United States-China trade: where are the exports?


  • Barry Bosworth
  • Susan Collins


This paper empirically examines US goods trade with China, focusing on the performance of exports. Throughout the analysis, we explore whether US trade is unusual by contrasting it with trade from Japan and the EU-15. The issue is examined from three perspectives: the commodity composition of exports, the role of multinational firms, and the estimation of a set of 'gravity equations' that explore the role of market size and distance from the United States. We find that the commodity composition of trade with China is not distorted, nor can the low level be related to an unusual role of US multinationals in China. Instead, distance does seem to exert a surprisingly large effect on trade. Finally, while exports to China may be a small share of US GDP, they are relatively substantial compared to US exports to other countries. In other words, the measure of US trade performance in China is distorted by the low level of its exports to all countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Barry Bosworth & Susan Collins, 2008. "United States-China trade: where are the exports?," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 1-21.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jocebs:v:6:y:2008:i:1:p:1-21 DOI: 10.1080/14765280701841292

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Shandre M. Thangavelu & Ang Beng Jiunn & James, 2004. "Financial development and economic growth in Australia: An empirical analysis," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 247-260, May.
    2. Tsangyao Chang, 2002. "Financial development and economic growth in Mainland China: a note on testing demand-following or supply-leading hypothesis," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(13), pages 869-873.
    3. Arestis, Philip & Demetriades, Panicos O & Luintel, Kul B, 2001. "Financial Development and Economic Growth: The Role of Stock Markets," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(1), pages 16-41, February.
    4. Felix Rioja & Neven Valev, 2004. "Finance and the Sources of Growth at Various Stages of Economic Development," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(1), pages 127-140, January.
    5. Yan Wang & Yudong Yao, 2001. "Sources of China's economic growth, 1952-99 : incorporating human capital accumulation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2650, The World Bank.
    6. Levine, Ross, 2005. "Finance and Growth: Theory and Evidence," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 865-934 Elsevier.
    7. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2006. "Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 37-74, March.
    8. Luintel, Kul B. & Khan, Mosahid, 1999. "A quantitative reassessment of the finance-growth nexus: evidence from a multivariate VAR," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 381-405, December.
    9. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Lai, Kon S, 1993. "Finite-Sample Sizes of Johansen's Likelihood Ration Tests for Conintegration," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 55(3), pages 313-328, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Prema-chandra Athukorala & Archanun Kophaiboon, 2013. "Trade and Investment Patterns in Asia: Implications for Multilateralizing Regionalism," Departmental Working Papers 2013-16, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.

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    China; United States; trade;


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