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Asia Minute: US diplomacy with China may be bumpy, but trade is thriving

US China Trade
Kin Cheung
Shipping containers are seen at a port of Kwai Tsing Container Terminals in Hong Kong, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021.

A spokeswoman for China's Foreign Ministry says the Beijing government is, "opposed to defining the entire China-U.S. relationship in terms of competition."

Mao Ning told a briefing “The Chinese side has always believed that China-U.S. relations are not a zero."

None of that was any rhetorical shock — and the most recent trade news involving the two countries is also not a shock to those who have been tracking developments.

Trade between the two countries hit a record high in 2022.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported exports to China were up by nearly $2.5 billion last year, while imports from China shot up by nearly $32 billion dollars.

Put it all together, and within all the various figures and measurements, two numbers stand out.

Two-way trade between the countries totaled nearly $700 billion last year — a new record.

And the U.S. trade deficit with China now tops $380 billion. While not quite a record, it is the second highest figure that's been registered.

Inflation played a role in boosting some of the numbers, but the trends also remain clear—any desire to decouple these two economies will not be fulfilled anytime soon.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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