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U.S. Trade with China and Mexico Rose at the Expense of Other Partners During Recession

Friday, October 11, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

A recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis finds that China and Mexico emerged from the recession of 2007-2009 with larger shares of U.S. trade while other major trading partners saw their shares decline. Among the report’s findings are the following (all numbers are approximate).

- China’s share of total U.S. imports rose from just over 16% in 2007 to 18% in 2011, Mexico’s grew from nearly 11% to 12% and Korea’s edged up as well. Decreases were registered by Canada (16% to 14%), Japan (7.5% to 6.0%), Germany (5% to 4.5%) and the United Kingdom (3% to 2%).

- On the export side, China’s share increased from 5.5% to 7% while Mexico’s rose from 11.5% to 13.5%. These figures contrast with decreases for Canada (21.5% to 19%), Japan (5.5% to 4%), Germany (4.5% to 3.5%) and the United Kingdom (4.5% to 4%).

- In 2011, nine countries (China, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Korea, France and Taiwan) were among the top sources of imports and destinations for exports for the U.S. and trade with just 11 countries accounted for about two-thirds of the U.S. total.

- Between 2007 and 2011 Korea overtook the U.K. as a source of U.S. imports and all but overtook Germany (and greatly closed the gap with the U.K.) as a destination for U.S. exports.

- The recession was mostly a rich-country phenomenon and may therefore have accelerated somewhat the long-run growth of the relative importance of emerging markets such as China and Mexico in global and U.S. trade.

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