China replaced Canada for the first time as the United States' top trade partner between January and September, figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce showed.
Trade volume between China and the U.S. hit $441.6 billion in the first three quarters of the year, surpassing the $438.1 billion in trade between Canada and the U.S., the Commerce Department reported on Wednesday in Washington.
The change mainly reflect-ed declining prices for commodities, such as crude oil. The value of U.S. oil imports fell to the lowest level since 2004, and crude oil is Canada's largest export.
But the U.S. demand for higher value-added goods from China has increased.
"This is a milestone for China's exports and reflects an inevitable shift from shipping low-end goods such as toys, clothes and cups, to higher value-added products to the world's largest economy," said Li Guanghui, vice-president of the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.
The U.S. government has made specific plans, including the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership program, to accelerate the modernization of its traditional industries. As a result, U.S. companies need to import more manufacturing and electronic equipment, as well as parts to improve efficiency and competitive power.
"As China is under an industrial boom to upgrade its manufacturing structure, its fast-growing industries such as big data, high-speed rail equipment, household digital and intelligent devices, and interactive and ultrahigh-definition electronic products will be the main goods to be shipped to the U.S. over the next decade," said Li.
Chinese companies' investment to the U.S. also jumped 51 percent year-on-year to $6.35 billion in the first half of this year.