Trump Tells U.S. Companies To Look Elsewhere But For 77% of Chinese Imports, It Is Top Source

President Trump "hereby ordered" U.S. companies to "look outside" of China in a Friday tweet that further escalated the trade war.

Here's the problem: For more than three-fourths of the U.S. imports from China this year, it is the No. 1 source.

(Another problem, as I noted in a previous post on the same topic: What does hereby order to look actually mean?)

The top 39 of those import categories are all valued at more than $1 billion each through June, the most recent data available.

The value of the top 165 all topped $100 million.

Here's a look at the top 39, those that are, just six months into the year, members of the Billion Dollar Club, with the year-to-date value of those imports:

Cell phones, related equipment  $        24,648,538,187
Computers  $        22,185,576,313
TVs, computer monitors  $           6,169,653,024
Seats, excluding barber, dental  $           4,841,476,356
Furniture, parts  $           4,829,529,278
Toys, children's bicycles, games  $           4,175,882,944
Lamp and lighting parts  $           2,918,058,745
Computer parts  $           2,915,336,529
Misc. plastic articles  $           2,715,050,634
Printers, all types, parts  $           2,713,104,982
Electric water, space, soil heaters  $           2,482,515,732
TV cameras, digital cameras, camcorders  $           2,425,558,885
Power supplies, transformers  $           2,365,594,741
Plastic tableware and other products  $           2,325,770,740
Travel goods, including handbags, wallets, jewelry  $           2,246,039,316
Equipment, parts for exercising  $           2,241,867,031
Athletic, other textile shoes  $           2,114,345,833
Saws, drills and other hand tools  $           2,049,621,654
Leather shoes  $           2,044,246,269
Compressors and pumps  $           2,006,108,775
Plastic shoes  $           1,954,187,165
Women's or girls' suits, not knit  $           1,928,578,250
Taps, cocks and valves for pipes, tanks  $           1,910,530,736
Misc. articles made from textile materials  $           1,847,433,688
Salvage  $           1,839,372,475
Unrecorded media for audio  $           1,579,595,670
Miscellaneous electrical machinery  $           1,519,284,221
Hardware for fixtures  $           1,511,122,992
Video game consoles  $           1,506,976,695
Amplifiers, speakers, microphones  $           1,460,418,595
Mattresses and other bedding products  $           1,451,121,775
Sweaters, pullovers, vests, knit or crocheted  $           1,389,790,892
Plastic floor and wall coverings  $           1,311,534,518
Stoves and ranges, parts  $           1,203,551,370
Electric filament or discharge lamps, parts  $           1,179,262,528
Misc. iron or steel household articles and parts  $           1,174,764,179
Electric storage batteries  $           1,093,123,082
Plastic boxes, containers  $           1,078,470,339
Linens for bed, bath and kitchen  $           1,065,771,836

And here are a few of the other imports that are valued between $100 million and $1 billion:

Carnival art  $  699,803,868
Vacuum cleaners, parts  $  681,026,237
Brooms, brushes, mops, feather dusters  $  633,393,065
Corrective lens, goggles, protective eyewear  $  607,591,120
Pantyhose, socks  $  605,771,429
Women's or girls' slips  $  593,026,959
Track suits, ski-suits & swimwear  $  548,366,849
Bras, girdles, garters  $  527,585,448
Wigs, other products, from human hair  $  489,487,224
Curtains, interior blinds, bed valances  $  408,064,958
Imitation jewelry  $  405,735,268
Hats, headgear, knit, lace  $  404,598,410
Women's or girls' blouses, not knit  $  400,257,504
Provitamins and vitamins  $  385,524,211
Bells, ornaments, photo frames, etc.  $  342,027,436
Babies' garments, accessories, knit or crocheted  $  337,982,498
Frames, mountings for glasses, goggles  $  328,237,499
Bicycles, etc.  $  317,242,348
Ceramic sinks, washbasins, toilets  $  306,815,892
Men's or boys' overcoats  $  305,892,273
Fishing rods, tackle, nets, decoys  $  292,106,282
Glassware for kitchens, bathrooms  $  290,774,541
Toilet paper, similar household sanitary items  $  283,647,744
Fireworks  $  241,533,873
Gloves, mittens, mitts, knitted or crocheted  $  235,710,008
Ball-point pens, mechanical pencils  $  227,545,213
Mirrors, including rearview mirrors  $  225,765,054
Men's or boys' underwear  $  191,936,492
Printed or illustrated postcards, greeting cards  $  179,753,355
Electric shavers, hair clippers, etc.  $  179,345,456
Children's picture, drawing or coloring books  $  142,799,591
Basketwork, wickerwork  $  126,708,819
Wooden frames for photographs, arts  $  100,292,899

What these charts illustrate is the impracticality of President Trump's tweeted order for companies to look elsewhere.

While I can appreciate his frustration that the Chinese are not willing to end practices that should no longer be acceptable for the world's second-largest economy by the rest of the world's developed economies, this is one tweet that, not for the first time, might have been best left "un-tweeted."

 

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President Trump "hereby ordered" U.S. companies to "look outside" of China in a Friday tweet that further escalated the trade war.

Here's the problem: For more than three-fourths of the U.S. imports from China this year, it is the No. 1 source.

(Another problem, as I noted in a previous post on the same topic: What does hereby order to look actually mean?)

The top 39 of those import categories are all valued at more than $1 billion each through June, the most recent data available.

The value of the top 165 all topped $100 million.

Here's a look at the top 39, those that are, just six months into the year, members of the Billion Dollar Club, with the year-to-date value of those imports:

Cell phones, related equipment  $        24,648,538,187
Computers  $        22,185,576,313
TVs, computer monitors  $           6,169,653,024
Seats, excluding barber, dental  $           4,841,476,356
Furniture, parts  $           4,829,529,278
Toys, children's bicycles, games  $           4,175,882,944
Lamp and lighting parts  $           2,918,058,745
Computer parts  $           2,915,336,529
Misc. plastic articles  $           2,715,050,634
Printers, all types, parts  $           2,713,104,982
Electric water, space, soil heaters  $           2,482,515,732
TV cameras, digital cameras, camcorders  $           2,425,558,885
Power supplies, transformers  $           2,365,594,741
Plastic tableware and other products  $           2,325,770,740
Travel goods, including handbags, wallets, jewelry  $           2,246,039,316
Equipment, parts for exercising  $           2,241,867,031
Athletic, other textile shoes  $           2,114,345,833
Saws, drills and other hand tools  $           2,049,621,654
Leather shoes  $           2,044,246,269
Compressors and pumps  $           2,006,108,775
Plastic shoes  $           1,954,187,165
Women's or girls' suits, not knit  $           1,928,578,250
Taps, cocks and valves for pipes, tanks  $           1,910,530,736
Misc. articles made from textile materials  $           1,847,433,688
Salvage  $           1,839,372,475
Unrecorded media for audio  $           1,579,595,670
Miscellaneous electrical machinery  $           1,519,284,221
Hardware for fixtures  $           1,511,122,992
Video game consoles  $           1,506,976,695
Amplifiers, speakers, microphones  $           1,460,418,595
Mattresses and other bedding products  $           1,451,121,775
Sweaters, pullovers, vests, knit or crocheted  $           1,389,790,892
Plastic floor and wall coverings  $           1,311,534,518
Stoves and ranges, parts  $           1,203,551,370
Electric filament or discharge lamps, parts  $           1,179,262,528
Misc. iron or steel household articles and parts  $           1,174,764,179
Electric storage batteries  $           1,093,123,082
Plastic boxes, containers  $           1,078,470,339
Linens for bed, bath and kitchen  $           1,065,771,836

And here are a few of the other imports that are valued between $100 million and $1 billion:

Carnival art  $  699,803,868
Vacuum cleaners, parts  $  681,026,237
Brooms, brushes, mops, feather dusters  $  633,393,065
Corrective lens, goggles, protective eyewear  $  607,591,120
Pantyhose, socks  $  605,771,429
Women's or girls' slips  $  593,026,959
Track suits, ski-suits & swimwear  $  548,366,849
Bras, girdles, garters  $  527,585,448
Wigs, other products, from human hair  $  489,487,224
Curtains, interior blinds, bed valances  $  408,064,958
Imitation jewelry  $  405,735,268
Hats, headgear, knit, lace  $  404,598,410
Women's or girls' blouses, not knit  $  400,257,504
Provitamins and vitamins  $  385,524,211
Bells, ornaments, photo frames, etc.  $  342,027,436
Babies' garments, accessories, knit or crocheted  $  337,982,498
Frames, mountings for glasses, goggles  $  328,237,499
Bicycles, etc.  $  317,242,348
Ceramic sinks, washbasins, toilets  $  306,815,892
Men's or boys' overcoats  $  305,892,273
Fishing rods, tackle, nets, decoys  $  292,106,282
Glassware for kitchens, bathrooms  $  290,774,541
Toilet paper, similar household sanitary items  $  283,647,744
Fireworks  $  241,533,873
Gloves, mittens, mitts, knitted or crocheted  $  235,710,008
Ball-point pens, mechanical pencils  $  227,545,213
Mirrors, including rearview mirrors  $  225,765,054
Men's or boys' underwear  $  191,936,492
Printed or illustrated postcards, greeting cards  $  179,753,355
Electric shavers, hair clippers, etc.  $  179,345,456
Children's picture, drawing or coloring books  $  142,799,591
Basketwork, wickerwork  $  126,708,819
Wooden frames for photographs, arts  $  100,292,899

What these charts illustrate is the impracticality of President Trump's tweeted order for companies to look elsewhere.

While I can appreciate his frustration that the Chinese are not willing to end practices that should no longer be acceptable for the world's second-largest economy by the rest of the world's developed economies, this is one tweet that, not for the first time, might have been best left "un-tweeted."

 

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I didn’t leave the womb thinking I would find my life’s work writing and speaking about trade data, trying to make it interesting and relevant. But this is where I find ...