Washington & Beijing relationship and its impact on the US economy

December 5, 2022

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Here’s what agreements between Washington and Beijing mean for the US economy

Two people shaking hands. Washington
Imports from China reach a historic high. Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash.

A recent report from Bloomberg argues that the global economy is in the process of restructuring around geopolitical poles focused on Washington and Beijing.

Data shows that if current trends continue, the United States will import more products from China in 2022 than in any year previous.

As it stands today, the US has imported $418 billion worth of products from China. This is $23.7 billion more than it did during the same period in 2018; the year that held the previous record.

What this means is a serious shift away from the trade-tightening policies of the Trump administration, and a move towards reconfirming the powerful economic links between the US and China under Biden.

This is interesting because the rise in US imports has happened despite Trump’s tariffs, which were meant to change the way the US and China do business, and without any obvious effect on US jobs.

Freight Containers being imported on a Ship Washington
Both imports and US jobs have increased. Photo by Andy Li on Unsplash

Everything we are seeing here goes against what economists and political theorists have been predicting.

In actual fact, looking at the November jobs report, the US has added a massive 379,000 manufacturing jobs in 2022, despite all of the Chinese goods that are being imported.

However, one thing to keep in mind is that the pandemic has made a lot of trade data difficult to interpret.

Inflation hitting 40-year highs and the influence on import prices are not the only factors impacting the figures. During the outbreak, American stores tended to over-order from China, which will of course have influenced trade data as well.

Over the next few years, the statistics will gradually reflect either the reinforcement of the trade links between the US and China or the move towards renationalizing manufacturing and bringing production ‘back home as was predicted during the pandemic.

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