China’s trade in goods during 2012 totaled $3.87 trillion while trade in the US totaled $3.82 trillion.
The growth of China’s influence in the global economy is threatening to upset regional trading blocs; China is rapidly becoming the most important bi-lateral trading partner for many countries of the world.
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If services are thrown into the mix, total trade in the US comes to $4.93 trillion. The US economy is also twice as big as China’s, with US gross domestic product (GDP) at $15 trillion compared to China’s $7.3 trillion.
Analysts note that it is remarkable for a country whose economy is a fraction the size of the US to have a larger trading volume than the US.
The US became the world’s most important trading partner after World War II. During that period, it spawned the architecture of global trade and finance.
Protectionist policies during the 1930s had exacerbated the global depression and the UK began to dismantle its colonial empire.
In 2009, China became the world’s largest exporter. The US is still the top importer, taking in $2.28 trillion worth of goods last year compared to China’s $1.82 trillion.