Containers at the terminal of Qingdao Port, Shandong province, China. Picture taken August 23, 2023.

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Despite disruptions, US-China trade is likely to grow

Policy Briefs 23-14
Photo Credit: CFOTO via Reuters Connect

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The United States and China hit record trade levels in 2022, despite a prickly relationship, suggesting that calls for severe or even total economic decoupling between the world’s two economic superpowers may be ill-advised, say Hogan and Hufbauer. The dollar value of US-China trade grew significantly between 2019 and 2022, notwithstanding declines in trade flows of certain products such as semiconductors and aircraft due to the trade war. The persistence and even growth of the two countries’ total trade despite political and economic disputes reflects the mutual benefit that private firms see in this commercial relationship. The authors conclude that partial decoupling between the United States and China has not, so far, redrawn the world trade map. Nor does it seem likely to do so on an aggregate trade basis between now and 2025.

Data Disclosure:

The data underlying this analysis can be downloaded here [zip].

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