China Center Chart Dive: US-China trade relations—who needs who more? A global value chain & GDP exposure view
  • Authors:

    Erik Lundh

  • Publication Date:
    April 2017

Using WIOD data, we are able to identify the extent to which the economies of China and the United States are mutually reliant in terms of total national output – in trade-related terms.

Chinese goods & services worth USD 1,923bln were consumed abroad in 2014, of which USD 320bln was consumed within the United States (about 17 percent of total). That same year, US goods & services worth USD 1,545bln were consumed outside its borders, USD 120bln of which was consumed in China (about 8 percent of total). In absolute terms, therefore, China’s GDP exposure to the US is nearly 3x higher than the US’ exposure to China. However, upon weighing these foreign dependencies against the relative size of each economy, the asymmetry becomes even more pronounced. In 2014, nearly 19 percent of China’s GDP was dependent of foreign demand for its domestically produced goods and services, vs. just 9 percent for the US. In bilateral terms, 3.1 percent of China’s economy was reliant on US consumption, while just 0.7 percent of the US’s GDP was dependent on China. On this weighted basis, China’s economic exposure to the US is nearly 5x higher than America’s exposure to China.

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