Since August of last year, overall U.S. exports of goods to China have fallen every month. This month marks a total of $30 billion in exports lost since the trade war between the two countries began.
Soybean exports alone have suffered by $5.6 billion in this period, to say nothing of other agricultural exports.
Also striking are the figures around U.S. imports from China: since last November, imports have fallen 11 out of the last 12 months.
Imported technologies have been hit especially hard, with cell phone imports down by $13.25 billion and computer imports off $5.72 billion in the last year alone.
Overall, imports have suffered by a total of $54 billion since last November, bringing the total financial cost of the trade war since last August to $84 billion.
Although the numbers look bleak, taking a closer look at new U.S. Census Bureau numbers in the context of the new partial trade agreement between China and the U.S. reveals a possible advantage for the American economy.
The most recent data shows that U.S. imports from China last month fell at the fastest rate in 18 months while exports declined at the slowest rate since last August.
This divergence could suggest either that the U.S. is gaining ground in the trade war – or just the opposite.
It is difficult to extensively analyze the trade war between the world’s two strongest economies, particularly when the issues at stake between China and the U.S. exceed beyond questions of tariffs and imports.
The protests in Hong Kong, China’s treatment and detention of Uighur Muslims, the upcoming U.S. election, and Trump’s impeachment all affect the complicated political and economic dynamics between the nations.
The new data that shows that export losses are declining while import losses increase.
Although the U.S. is exporting more and importing less this month than previously, other numbers suggest that China is still winning the trade war.
The U.S.’s $54 billion loss in imports is double its export loss of $30 billion.
This disparity is further illuminated by the fact that a massive 18% of U.S. imports come from China, while only 6% of our exports are sent there in return.
The new trade agreement could help remedy this disparity, as President Trump negotiates for greater exports of U.S. agricultural products in exchange for not imposing further trade restrictions on China.