Unexpectedly Intriguing!
March 19, 2007

Just for fun, we thought we'd revisit the issue of U.S.-China trade and compare the relative performance of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush over the course of their presidencies. First up, here's a chart showing the history of U.S. exports to China and U.S. imports from China from January 1993 through January 2001, corresponding with President Clinton's terms in office (all data taken from the U.S. Census):

In this chart, we see that during the Clinton era, the volume of China's imports to the U.S. grew at twice the rate of the United States' exports to China. At an annualized growth rate of 16.3%, the volume of China's imports nearly quadrupled during the course of Clinton's presidency, while U.S. exports to China only doubled.

Now, let's look at the relative trade performance of the Bush administration, going from January 2001 through the most recent data available as of January 2007:

In this chart, we see than in just seven years, the growth rate of U.S. exports to China (21.4%) has surged to very nearly match the growth rate of U.S. imports from China (22.0%), all while the overall growth rate of trade between the two nations has grown beyond the average level of growth during the Clinton years. The volume of exports from the U.S. to China and imports to the U.S. from China now doubles roughly every 3.3-3.4 years!

Just out of curiosity - which President's administration would you say is better at managing the United States' international trade?

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