Monday, October 25, 2010

Chinese Imports as a Percentage of the Total

A very interesting analysis courtesy of Matthew Yglesias: for all the worry about Chinese imports, the fact is that combined imports from Canada and Mexico are nearly 1 1/2 times as large. Yglesias wonders why China gets so much media coverage.

...I’d say following the news probably leads to a mistake overestimation of how important China is to the US economy. I’d say China accounts for much more than 20 percent of total trade-related media coverage, even though the PRC is just 18.5 percent of our imports and less than 17 percent of our total trade.

This is true, but it seems to me that it's the imbalance going the other way that is most worrisome, and likely accounts for much of the media's focus. While we maintain slight trade imbalances with Mexico and Canda, we, in fact, import about 4x as much from China as we export to China.

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