Unexpectedly Intriguing!
March 22, 2007

Given our surprising finding that U.S. exports to China have grown at such an extraordinary pace since George W. Bush became President in January 2001, we thought we might take a closer look at how that growth has developed over time.

First, we broke up the years covering the previous Clinton administration into his first and second terms. Our first chart shows the growth in the United States' exports to China from January 1993 through January 1997:

In this chart, we see that China's exports to the U.S. grew at the annualized exponential rate of 17.9% during these four years, a pace that would result in the value of China's exports doubling every 4.0 years (which, it did!) Meanwhile the value of the U.S.' exports to China grew at an annualized rate of 11.5%, which would double in value approximately every 6.3 years.

Our next chart considers former President Bill Clinton's second term, running from January 1997 through January 2001:

This chart reveals that the pace of growth in trade between the U.S. and China decelerated when compared to President Clinton's first term. Here, the annualized rate of growth of China's exports to the U.S. grew at 16.8%, a rate at which the value of China's exports would double every 4.3 years. By contrast, the rate of growth of the U.S.' exports to China was less than half this value over these four years, coming in at 7.4%, equivalent to doubling in value every 9.7 years.

Now, let's reconsider these growth rates through the six years of the Bush administration:

Over the six years covered in this chart, we find that the rate of growth in China's exports to the U.S. has increased to 22.0%, the equivalent of doubling in value every 3.3 years. What's absolutely remarkable, and to our knowledge, not reported in any meaningful way anywhere, is the growth rate of the U.S.' exports to China, which has clocked in over these past six years at 21.4%, a rate at which the value of U.S. exports to China will double every 3.4 years. That's just shy of triple the rate at which U.S. export growth occurred during President Clinton's second term!

We'll take a better, closer look at these trends tomorrow....

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