Chinese Consul General in Chicago Hong Lei (C, Rear) addresses the U.S.-China Think Tank Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa, the United States, on June 12, 2017.(Xinhua/Wang Ping)
It sounds too abstract to say economic and trade cooperation is the most dynamic and lasting driving force for China-U.S. relations, one of the world's most important bilateral ties.
However, Hong Lei, China's Consul General to Chicago, drove his point home by going through intricate, important figures about the bilateral trade relations in a keynote speech at the U.S.-China Think Tank Symposium luncheon held in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday.
Statistics show China-U.S. trade volume has grown from 2.5 billion U.S. dollars in 1979 to 524.3 billion dollars in 2016, a rise of 209 times, according to Hong.
China is the United States' largest export market outside North America, and is also one of the fastest growing major export markets of the United States.
In the past 10 years, the average annual growth rate of U.S. exports to China hit 11 percent, higher than not only the 4 percent of average growth rate of U.S. total exports during the same period, but also the 6.6 percent of average growth rate of China's exports to the United States in this period, said the Chinese diplomat.
Since China's accession to the WTO, U.S. exports to China in 2016 has been up 500 percent from 2001, while U.S. global exports during the same period only grew by 90 percent. China has become an important overseas market of many products of the United States, especially bulk agricultural products and high-end finished products.
Hong said in 2016, the United States exported 440 aircraft to China worth of 12.5 billion dollars; 33.66 million tons of soybeans worth of 13.8 billion dollars, many of which are from the state of Iowa; 255,000 automobiles worth of 12.1 billion dollars; 9.7 billion dollars of integrated circuits; and 260,000 tons of cotton worth of 500 million dollars.
Currently, China is the largest export market of American aircraft and soybeans, and the second largest market of American automobiles, integrated circuits and cotton. Among U.S. exports, 62 percent of soybeans, 17 percent of automobiles, 15 percent of integrated circuits, 14 percent of cotton and some 25 percent of Boeing aircraft are sold to China, he said.
From 2006 to 2016, the service exports of the United States to China expanded from 14.4 billion dollars to 86.9 billion dollars, a rise of 5 times, Hong said.