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AmCham: Trade Gap Not the Full Picture
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The widening trade gap between China and the US does not reflect the reality of their economic relationship, according to the 2007 White Paper: American Business in China.


China's trade surplus with the US widened to a record US$144 billion last year, sparking concern in the US and triggering a number of disputes between the two countries.


"The large and growing trade deficit with China should not serve as the defining measure of the US-China trade relationship," said the white paper, released by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) China and AmCham Shanghai yesterday. It is the ninth edition published by the organization.


It said that while the US trade deficit with China is substantial, global shifts in trade and investment are largely responsible for this phenomenon and America's overall trade deficit.


The white paper noted that declining US imports from other East Asian or Pacific countries have offset expanding imports from China.


The share of Asian countries apart from China in the overall US trade deficit declined from 28 percent to 19 percent from 2002 to 2006, according to the US Census Bureau. China is the second-largest source of US imports of merchandise after Canada and now accounts for over 14 percent of US imports, up from 8 percent in 1999.


The white paper echoed the opinion of Chinese officials and experts, who said China's widening trade surplus with the US resulted from the transformed global industrial structure.


"We believe it is important for China to maintain sustainable growth without a significant trade surplus," said James M. Zimmerman, chairman of AmCham China.


At the same time, the US trade deficit only takes into account trade in goods, ignoring the fact that China has also become one of the top 10 export markets for US services in a broad range of areas such as finance, insurance, environmental technology, law, accounting and consulting.


"Many people assume that China is the major or sole cause for the loss of manufacturing jobs in America. However, the general shift in manufacturing to services employment in the US has been under way for several generations and pre-dates the emergence of China as a platform for manufacturing," the white paper said.


It suggested the US administration "maintain a constructive and responsible dialog on common issues," and the Chinese government "embrace the 'global stakeholder' mindset" and deepen commitment to the WTO's principles in order to continue improving the quality of its economic growth.


(China Daily April 27, 2007)

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