China No Longer Biggest Trade Partner With U.S. – International Trade

The United States maintains a favorable trading relationship with many countries all over the world, yet only a handful encompass the bulk of all trading activity. For years, Mexico, China and Canada have been the top three trading partners with the United States, sending imports and exports across borders made up of all types of products and materials.

Trade treaties with Mexico and Canada have facilitated trade with the U.S. for years, yet recently imposed tariffs on Chinese imports have reduced trade activity with China and increased activity with Canada and Mexico. Since the imposition of new tariffs with China, some manufacturers and suppliers have shifted their operations to Canada and Mexico in hopes of averting additional tariffs.

Trade data released this past month has validated the effects of the newly imposed tariffs, with China no longer the top trading parter with the United States. Mexico and Canada are now the top trading countries with China, third ahead of Japan. Unknown to many, Mexico and Canada have been top trading partners ahead of China before, with Canada the top trading partner through the 2000s up to 2014. Ten years ago in 2009, China represented 14% of total trading activity with the U.S., reaching 16.4% of all trading in 2017. The latest trade data shows China representing 13.2% of total trade activity, with Mexico and Canada each representing roughly 15% of total trade.

Source: U.S. Commerce Dept., Census.gov3

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