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

Print Email

5. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis.
> Exports to China: $4.2 billion
> Pct. total exports to China: 15.9%
> Total exports: $26.2 billion
> Biggest export: Crop production (28.9%)
> Pct. increase exports to China (2005-2011): 268%

In addition to being the 10th-largest metro area by exports, Minneapolis is the fifth-largest exporter to China. Canada, being the region’s nearest neighbor, is the primary recipient of these goods, and China is second on the list. In Minnesota, exports to China grew by 835% between 2000 and 2011, while exports to the rest of the world grew just 82% over the same period. Minneapolis’s biggest exported product in 2011 was crops, with nearly $7.6 billion exported worldwide. The world’s largest food processor, Cargill Inc., is based in Minnetonka, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis. Meanwhile, computers and electronics, one of China’s biggest imports from the U.S., comprised $3.2 billion worth of Minneapolis’s exports.

4. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Tex.
> Exports to China: $5.33 billion
> Pct. total exports to China: 5.1%
> Total exports: $104.5 billion
> Biggest export: Petroleum and coal products (33.7%)
> Pct. increase exports to China (2005-2011): 123%

In August, Global Trade Magazine ranked Houston as the second-largest city in the United States in terms of export volume, behind only New York. But the ITA notes that China was only the fourth-largest export market for the metropolitan area. Mexico was the largest beneficiary of Houston’s trade, receiving 16% of the area’s total exports, followed by Canada and Brazil, at 10.4% and 6.8% respectively. Nevertheless, total exports to China have grown nearly 123% between 2005 and 2011. Petroleum and coal products are the area’s largest export, comprising nearly $35.2 billion in 2011, or 33.7% of all trade. The U.S. has slowly begun to wean itself off foreign oil in recent years and has become a net exporter of oil in 2011 for the first time in decades. No region has benefited from this boom more than Houston, as exports of petroleum and coal products in terms of dollar value have grown 405% since 2005.

Also Read: States Losing the Most Jobs to China

3. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.
> Exports to China: $6.0 billion
> Pct. total exports to China: 14.6%
> Total exports: $41.1 billion
> Biggest export: Transportation equipment (64.6%)
> Pct. increase exports to China (2005-2011): 42%

China was Seattle’s top export market in 2011 for the third year in a row, accounting for 14.6% of the area’s total exports. In addition, almost $2 billion in exports were sent to Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of China. Transportation equipment, one of China’s biggest imports from the United States, comprised $26.2 billion of all of Seattle area’s exports. In the entire state of Washington, $4 billion in transportation equipment went to China in 2011. Boeing Co.’s (NYSE: BA) factory in Everett, outside of Seattle, makes the 747, 767, 777 and the 787 Dreamliner airplanes, a key export of the area. Washington’s exports to China, which totaled $11.2 billion in 2011, grew 489% from 2000 to 2011, while total exports only grew 76%.

2. New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa.
> Exports to China: $7.44 billion
> Pct. total exports to China: 7.1%
> Total exports: $105.1 billion
> Biggest export: Miscellaneous manufactured commodities (19.5%)
> Pct. increase exports to China (2005-2011): NA

Although Houston nearly overtook the top spot for total export thanks to the oil boom, the New York metropolitan area remained the largest exporter of goods and services. Exports from the region grew by 23.5% from just a year before to $105.1 billion. As recently as 2008, China was not even among the metro area’s top five export markets. By 2011, however, China was the third-largest recipient of exports from the New York region, behind Canada at $11.6 billion and Hong Kong at $8.4 billion. The $7.4 billion in the region’s exports to China was up from just over $6 billion in 2010 and less than $4.5 billion in 2009. The New York area ships off a variety of different products overseas. At 19.5% of total exports, “miscellaneous manufactured commodities” was the most exported item from the New York area, followed by chemicals at 16.6% and primary metals at 9.3%.

1. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif. 
> Exports to China: $8.0 billion
> Pct. total exports to China: 11.0%
> Total exports: $72.7 billion
> Biggest export: Computer and Electronic Products (29.1%)
> Pct. increase exports to China (2005-2011): 118%

Nearly $8 billion worth of exports from the Los Angeles metro area went to China, making it the biggest exporter to the country. However, China was not the country to receive the most exports from L.A. Mexico received $17.7 billion in exports from the area, while Canada received $8.6 billion. Computers and electronics comprise the largest share of exports, with more than $21 billion worth being shipped overseas. Computers and electronics exports have grown rapidly in just the past few years. In 2010, such exports amounted to just under $18 billion, while in 2009, that figure was just below $12 billion. The Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach are the busiest and second-busiest container ports in the country. In 2011, the Port of Los Angeles became the first port in the United States to ship more than 2 million containers carrying U.S. goods.

Michael B. Sauter, Samuel Weigley and Brian Zajac

Also Read: The World’s Best (and Worst) Economies