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China's Surprising U.S. Buying Spree

Alaska sold $1.4 billion of exports to China last year, with the largest portion of that being seafood
Alaska sold $1.4 billion of exports to China last year, with the largest portion of that being seafoodPhotograph by Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News/MCT via Getty Images

Guess which country this describes: U.S. exports to it are up 542 percent since 2000, compared with an 80 percent rise in U.S. sales to the rest of the world. Last year this country’s purchases of U.S. goods grew 13.1 percent, breaking the $100 billion mark ($103.9 billion, to be exact) for the first time ever. Now this Asian nation is the third-largest buyer of U.S. exports, ranking behind only U.S. neighbors and free-trade partners Canada and Mexico.

Surprised to hear that it’s China? That’s understandable, given news reports of growing trade frictions between the two countries. Those are just some of the numbers revealed in the annual report published by the Washington-based lobbying association U.S.-China Business Council. “Exports to China are vital to America’s economic health and create good jobs for American workers,” the release by the council states.