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

April 2017 | China Center Publications

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.



Erik Lundh

Principal Economist
The Conference Board



Our Experts


David Hoffman

Senior Vice President Asia and Managing Director of the China Center for Economics & Business


Andrew Polk

Program Director of China Government Affairs Council


Ethan Cramer-Flood

Senior Fellow, China Center for Economics and Business


Erik Lundh

Principal Economist


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