US Imports from China Plunged Most Ever in 2019, Shifted to Other Countries, and the Goods Trade Deficit Improved Only a Tad from Worst Level Ever

by Wolf Richter
Wolf Street

Corporate America rerouted its supply chain to other countries.

The biggest standout in the US trade data released today by the Commerce Department is China (I combined the data for China and Hong Kong because a lot of merchandise is transshipped and/or invoiced via Hong Kong): The US trade deficit with China plunged by 18% from a record of $388 billion in 2018 to $320 billion in 2019, which was where it had been in 2016.

US exports to China fell by $20 billion (to $137 billion) but US imports from China plunged by $89 billion, to $457 billion, the lowest since 2013. This 16% plunge in imports was a result of the threatened and actual US tariffs imposed on imports from China.

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