China-U.S. trade has been mutually beneficial, and the United States has reaped substantial benefits from bilateral economic and trade cooperation, China's Ministry of Commerce said Thursday in a research report.
The report said the U.S. has benefited hugely from bilateral trade with China. Bilateral trade in goods has gone from less than 2.5 billion U.S. dollars in 1979 to 633.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, increasing 252 times over.
Meanwhile, Chinese investment to the U.S. amounted to 156 billion U.S. dollars by the end of 2017, and China held nearly 1.2 trillion dollars of U.S. debt.
The U.S. cites a 500-billion-U.S.-dollar trade deficit with China, using it as one of the arguments to support its conclusion that China is taking advantage of it.
But the two countries' trade numbers are very different.
The U.S. side says its deficit in trade in goods with China in 2018 reached 420 billion U.S. dollars, while the surplus in services was around 40 billion U.S. dollars. China's data however shows that the figure for goods was estimated at 323.33 billion U.S. dollars, and the figure for services was nearly 48.5 billion U.S. dollars.
The differences are partly due to different accounting systems. Experts also point out that 53 percent of China's goods exported to the U.S. were in the processing trade, so intermediate goods were not directly from China. This means including them as part of China's exports would be inaccurate.