The World Bank describes high-technology exports as “products with high R&D intensity, such as in aerospace, computers, pharmaceuticals, scientific instruments, and electrical machinery.”
These are all fields in which the United States prides itself, and the U.S. remains in first place in the pharmaceutical industry. Despite this, China has beaten America in the high technology exports since the World Bank began collecting data on the category in 2005. In 2008, Chinese high technology exports were worth $381 billion and American exports were $231 billion. America’s second place status shows no signs of changing. Between 2005 and 2008, Chinese high-tech exports increased 78%, relative to a mere 21% by the U.S. over the same time period.
Through the 1970’s, the United States had what was effectively a monopoly on large commercial aircraft production. The nature of the industry made it difficult for other companies to compete with the massive U.S.-based Boeing NYSE: BA). The costs to create an aerospace manufacturing industry were prohibitive. In the 80’s European air manufacturers began to compete through subsidies, particularly European-based Airbus, which was originally formed by France, Germany, Spain, and other investors. Rising demand for Airbus planes have propelled the European company past Boeing to become the largest commercial airplane manufacturer in the world. In 2010, Airbus was awarded more jetliner contracts than its American competitor. It appears the trend will continue this year, with Airbus securing a massive deal with IndiGo, the third-largest airline in India. It is the largest commercial aircraft sale in history.
America is no longer the world’s largest manufacturing economy nor is it the largest consumer of energy for manufacturing purposes. Coal production in America is now a distant second to China. According to the U.S. Energy Information, the U.S. produced just over a billion short tons of coal in 2009. China produced more than three times that amount – 3.3 billion – because of the exponential growth of the Chinese energy infrastructure in the last decade. Since 2005, American coal production has decreased slightly, while Chinese production has increased 34%. The two countries account for more than half of the world’s total coal production.
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6. Lettuce Production
>Leader: China, with 12.9 million metric tons
>U.S.: 4.1 million metric tons
The population of China at 1.3 billion is more than four times that of the United States. Food consumption is obviously significantly higher as well. Partially because of large federal subsidies, the United States remains #1 in corn and soybean production. Chinese demand has caused domestic production of many crops to move well ahead of that of the U.S. For example, Chinese lettuce production was nearly 13 million metric tons in 2009, while U.S. production was closer to 4 million, according to the United Nations.
7. Oil Production:
>Leader: Russia, with 9.7 million barrels produced each day.
>U.S.: 9 million barrels produced each day
The United States produces the third most oil per day, at just over nine million barrels. The two leaders are Russia, at 10 million barrels per day, and Saudi Arabia, at 9.7 million barrels per day. Despite its current position in production, the U.S. is only 14th in proved reserves, with 19 billion barrels available relative to Saudi Arabia’s 264 billion barrels. The U.S. is now the second largest importer of crude and continued to deplete it reserves to try to be less dependent on foreign crude.