The Nine U.S. Cities Selling the Most to China

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9. St. Louis, Mo.-Ill.
> Exports to China: $2.0 billion
> Pct. total exports to China: 15.8%
> Total exports: $12.3 billion
> Biggest export: Chemical manufacturing (19.1%)
> Pct. increase exports to China (2005-2011): NA

In 2005, Canada was the largest recipient of St. Louis’s exports, with more than $1.7 billion worth of goods sent from St. Louis to Canada. That year, China was not even among the top five countries that imported the most goods from St. Louis. Within six years, China has become the largest foreign recipient of St. Louis’s products, with almost $2 billion worth of the city’s goods sent to China. In Oct. 2011, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed a $200 million trade agreement with the government of Zhejiang Province. The deal included $100 million in export opportunities and another $100 million in Chinese foreign direct investment into Missouri businesses.

8. Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich.
> Exports to China: $2.0 billion
> Pct. total exports to China: 4.1%
> Total exports: $49.4 billion
> Biggest export: Transportation equipment (65.5%)
> Pct. increase exports to China (2005-2011): 282%

From 2000 to 2011, Michigan’s exports to China have grown by 1,169%, while those to the rest of the world rose just 43%. The Detroit metropolitan area, which accounts for more than 70% of Michigan’s exports, has benefited somewhat from the increase in demand. While the growth percentage seems impressive, the dollar amount of exports to China still represents just 4.1% of Detroit’s $49.4 billion in total exports, which is the fourth largest among metro areas. Transportation equipment accounts for the bulk of Detroit’s exports to China at 65.5%. China’s subsidies to its own automakers — a practice that hurts the U.S. automakers like those found in Detroit — are at the center of attention as President Obama is initiating a case against China with the World Trade Organization.

Also Read: America’s Poorest States

7. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.
> Exports to China: $2.1 billion
> Pct. total exports to China: 8.8%
> Total exports: $23.6 billion
> Biggest export: Computer and electronic products (28.1%)
> Pct. increase exports to China (2005-2011): 86%

San Francisco was the third-largest exporter in California, after the Los Angeles and San Jose metro regions, and the 12th-largest exporter in the country. China was the third-largest foreign recipient of San Francisco’s products in 2011 at $2.1 billion worth of goods. It trailed Canada, which received $2.5 billion worth of exports, and Japan, which received $2.3 billion. The value of products sent out of the country grew 60.2% between 2005 and 2011, but exports to China have increased by 86%. More than 28% of California-made computer and electronic parts went to China in 2011. Other major products shipped overseas in 2011 include $4.1 billion worth of chemicals and $3 billion worth of petroleum and coal products.

6. Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Ore.-Wash.
> Exports to China: $2.9 billion
> Pct. total exports to China: 13.9%
> Total exports: $20.88 billion
> Biggest export: Computer and electronic products (29.7%)
> Pct. increase exports to China (2005-2011): NA

Computers and electronics were the most exported products from the Portland region with $6.2 billion, or nearly 30 % of total exports, sent in 2011. Portland’s 2011 exports to China fell sharply from 2010, when the metro area’s shipments to the country amounted to more than $3.7 billion. The drop was attributed to Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) building a large semiconductor manufacturing plant in China, which began producing the semiconductors that the Portland plant had been shipping over. Nevertheless, exports to China from the entire state of Oregon, where Portland is by the far the largest metro area, grew 936% between 2000 and 2011, while exports to the rest of the world grew only 36% during that time. In the entire state, $1.6 billion worth of computer and electronic components were sent to China in 2011.