Only Considering Trade Between Asia and North America, Which Continent Imports More?

North America imports far more than Asia — in fact, about 60 percent of shipping containers originally sent from Asia to North America return to Asia empty. This accounts for a multi-billion US Dollar (USD) annual loss for the U.S. American shipping companies often accept extremely unprofitable goods just to have something to ship back instead of an empty container. The top exports from China to the U.S. are furniture, toys and footwear. The top U.S. exports to China are waste paper, scrap metal and raw cotton.

More facts about trade imbalance:

  • The U.S. is not alone in its unprofitable trade relationship with China — 40 percent of shipping containers from Asia to Europe return empty.

  • In 2009 alone, the U.S. lost more than $200 billion USD in trade with China. That's more than a 30,000 percent increase since 1985.

  • In 2009, China imported only about $9 billion USD worth of goods from around the world and had an estimated trade profit of about $275 billion USD.

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