US-China trade defies talk of decoupling to hit record high in 2022

Hong Kong

Trade between the United States and China hit a record high in 2022, even as political tensions rose between the world’s two largest economies.

Bilateral goods trade between the two countries rose to $690.6 billion last year, according to official U.S. data released Tuesday.

According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, exports to China increased by $2.4 billion to $153.8 billion, while imports of Chinese products increased by $31.8 billion to $536.8 billion.

According to analysts, the data shows that the idea of ​​”decoupling,” or reducing interdependence across sectors, is more prominent in policy debates in Washington than the commercial reality on the ground.

“Supply chains are sticky, especially those linked to China,” said Nick Maro, lead global trade analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“The U.S. government is working to reduce its supply chain’s dependence on China, but at the end of the day, most companies care more about getting their products to customers on time, and in ways that They are the most cost-effective for their own operations.”

The previous record for bilateral goods trade was $658.8 billion in 2018, according to US government data.

Last week, US Secretary of State Anthony Blanken postponed a planned visit to China in response to the flight of a suspected Chinese spy balloon over the US. The incident marked a significant new phase in the escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Economically driven by its now-abandoned zero-covid strategy, Beijing is ramping up its diplomacy with Western governments in an effort to regain lost ground and strengthen ties, according to analysts. .

China’s economy grew just 3 percent last year, one of the worst performances in nearly half a century. Months of widespread Covid lockdowns and a historic slump in the property market have hit growth hard.

The tens of billions of dollars in tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on China starting in 2018 remain largely intact.

Instead of rolling back these measures, US President Joe Biden has quietly escalated the trade dispute. In October 2022, his administration imposed sweeping new sanctions designed to block China’s access to technology vital to its growing military power.

Last month, ASML, a Dutch semiconductor equipment maker, said it was “finalizing rules” on export controls to China, amid reports that the Netherlands and Japan had restricted sales of computer chip machinery to the country. has joined with the United States in doing so.

A few days later, multiple media outlets reported that Washington was moving to further restrict the sale of American technology to a Chinese technology company. Huawei

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