“China's Impact on the U.S. Economy”
Professor: Miguel A. Pinzon
China's Impact on the U.S. Economy:
China has 1.36 billion people, more than any other country in the world. China's economy produced $13.39 trillion in 2013. It's the third largest in the world, after the United States ($16.72 billion) and the European Union ($15.83 billion).
China is still a relatively poor country in terms of its standard of living. Its economy only produces $9,800 per person, compared to the GDP per capita of $49,800 for the U.S. This low standard of living allows China to pay its workers less, making its products cheaper.
China's Economy Depends on Exports to United States
China became the world's largest exporter in 2013. It exported $2.21 trillion of its production, beating the EU, at $2.173 trillion and the U.S., at $1.575 trillion.
China ships 17% of its exports to the U.S., creating a $315 billion trade deficit in 2012. While China needs the U.S., it's increasing its trade with Hong Kong (14.1%) and Japan (7.8%). It's encouraging trade with African nations, investing in their infrastructure in return for oil. Finally, China is increasing trade agreements with other Southeast Asian nations, and with many Latin American countries.
What Does China Export?
China does a lot of manufacturing for foreign businesses, including U.S. companies. The raw materials are shipped to China, where factory workers build the final products and ship them back to the U.S. In this way, a lot of China's so-called "exports" are really for American companies for American consumers. China primarily exports electrical and other types of machinery, especially computers and data processing equipment, as well as optical and medical equipment. It also exports apparel, fabric and textiles. It imports raw commodities from Latin America and Africa, such as oil and other fuels, metal ores, plastics and organic chemicals.
China Is One of the Biggest Bankers to the United States
China is the one of the largest foreign holders of U.S. Treasury bills, bonds and notes. As of February 2015, China owned $1.224 trillion in Treasuries. That's about one-fifth of the public debt held by foreign countries. China buys U.S. debt to support the value of the dollar. China pegs its currency (the yuan) lower than the U.S. dollar to keep its export prices competitive. 1(Source: U.S. Treasury, Major Foreign Holders) China's role as America's largest banker gives it leverage. For example, China threatens to sell part of its holdings whenever the U.S. pressures it to raise the yuan's value. China counters by saying it did raise the yuan's value by 20% between 2005-2010.
Why China's Growth Is Slowing
China's economic growth rate slowed to 7% in the first quarter of 2015, the lowest since 2009. It was 7.6% in 2013, 7.7% in 2012, and 9.3% in 2011. Prior to that, it had enjoyed 30 years of double-digit growth. Unfortunately, it was fed by government stimulus spending, business investment in capital goods, low interest rates, and state protection of strategic industries such as banking. This success led to 5.5% inflation in 2011, a real estate asset bubble, growth in public debt, and severe pollution.The government's emphasis on job creation and business development based on exports left little for social welfare programs. This forced the Chinese population to save for their retirement, strangling domestic demand. Most of the growth has occurred in the cities along China's east coast, attracting 250 million migrant workers to these urban areas.Chinese leaders must continue to stimulate growth and create jobs for all these workers, or face unrest. They remember all too well Mao's Revolution. However, at the same time, they must provide more social services, allowing workers to save less and spend more. Only an increase in domestic demand will allow China to become less reliant on exports.In addition, leaders must