Ag Helps Push 2021 U.S. Exports to China to a Record Level

The U.S.-China Business Council released its report on U.S. exports to China. After bottoming out in 2019 because of the trade war, American goods exported to China hit an all-time high last year of $149.2 billion. Craig Allen, president of the U.S.-China Business Council, says agriculture was the top category of exports to China in 2021.

“In terms of industrial sectors, oilseeds and grain exports saw growth of $4.8 billion as farmers sent $21.9 billion worth of crops to China. As noted, oilseeds and grains are, in 2021, the largest export category that we had, followed by semiconductors and oil and gas.”

Out of all 50 states, the Plains States were among the top states in direct sales to China. “Where are the winners in terms of goods exports to China last year, and, you’ll see, in the plains states, their exports to China were especially strong in 2021.”

Allen says the agriculture and energy sectors in the U.S. led the way in boosting exports to China last year. “Almost across the board, we could see that goods exported to China were up last year and way up from 2019, when companies felt the full weight of tariffs and retaliatory tariffs, so, especially strong for agriculture and energy sales despite the retaliatory tariffs.”

He says any future growth of U.S. exports to China depends on a lot of factors, many of which are outside of American control.

“For example, whether the phase one deal continues to deliver benefits for U.S. exporters and whether further negotiations occur to build out the Phase One agreement and, perhaps, a phase two agreement. Also, whether the U.S. section 301 tariffs remain in effect, especially without the broader exclusions, and whether or not additional U.S. tariffs are imposed. Yet another uncertainty would be whether or not China crosses any red lines regarding perhaps selling weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine.”

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