Special Report

Eight Industries the U.S. Has Lost to China

1. Steel
> China production: 627 million metric tons in 2010
> U.S. production: 80 million metric tons in 2010
> U.S. position: 3rd

In 1973, the U.S. was the largest producer of steel, making more than 136 million metric tons of crude steel, according to the International Iron and Steel Institute. Up to that point, the U.S. had enjoyed many decades of industry dominance, centered around the city of Pittsburgh. The following year, U.S. production was overtaken by the USSR, which produced 136.2 million metric tons, compared with the U.S.’s 132.2 million. Today, however, completely different players dominate the steel market. In 2010, the world’s top producer of crude steel was China, which produced approximately 627 million metric tons. Japan was a distant second-largest producer with nearly 110 million metric tons. The U.S. was third, producing approximately 80 million.

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2. Cotton
> China production: 7.3 million metric tons in 2011
> U.S. production: 3.4 million metric tons in 2011
> U.S. position: 3rd

In 2000, the U.S. produced 4.2 million metric tons of cotton — the largest amount in the world. China was not far behind, producing 3.81 million metric tons. By 2008, however, China had not only surpassed the U.S., but made nearly double the U.S.’s production amount. China produced approximately 8.1 million metric tons to the U.S.’s 4.2 million. A year earlier, the U.S. lost its second spot among top cotton producers to India, thanks in part to technological breakthroughs in seed and production practices. Between 2011 and 2012, China produced 7.3 million metric tons, India produced 6 million and the U.S. was third, producing 3.4 million.

3. Initial Public Offerings
> China production: $73 billion raised in 2011
> U.S. production: $30.7 billion raised in 2011
> U.S. position: 2nd

Even in the world of finance the U.S. is losing its dominance to China. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, “the yearly average of U.S. IPOs has decreased from 27 percent [global share] in the 1990s to 12 percent in the 2000s.” And as the U.S.’s share of IPO proceeds decreased, China’s share increased. It is now the world leader in IPOs. In 2011, companies raised a total of $73 billion through IPOs in the Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong stock markets. This is nearly double the amount raised in New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, according to Dealogic. The last time the U.S. raised the most in IPO funds globally was 2008.

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4. Tobacco
> China production: 3 million metric tons in 2010
> U.S. production: 0.33 million metric tons in 2010
> U.S. position: 4th

Until 1976, the U.S. produced the largest share of the world’s tobacco. Today, the U.S. only produces 6% of the global output, according to Stephan Richter, editor-in-chief of The Globalist, in an interview by Marketplace. The most recent data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations places the U.S. as the fourth-largest producer of tobacco in the world. China is the largest, producing more than 3 million metric tons of the crop in 2010. The U.S. produced slightly more than 326,000 metric tons that year. The other larger producers are Brazil and India, in that order.

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