Ranked: The Top Imports and Exports between the USA and China


We all exist in a global village intertwined with an exchange of goods and services for the nations to survive. This trade between the countries is an essential survival aspect in this global world and is heavily influenced by the laws of international relations. The fundamental rule of sharing goods and services is very noble – countries share the products, goods, or services they are proficient at producing and earn capital against them.

However, the countries’ political situations and power equations affect these trade relations immensely. The United States and China are two of the most powerful countries worldwide. Their long-standing international trade relations have withered various storms and upheavals. For instance, China has dropped to the USA’s third-largest goods exporter and importer

Here is a table highlighting the recent trends and data of imports and exports between the USA and China. 

Imports of the USA from China Exports of the USA to China
China was the third biggest supplier of goods to the US in 2020 Of all the countries on the export list of the USA, China ranked the third 
Compared to the imports from China in 2019 (totaling around $429 billion), the imports in 2020 are estimated to be approximately $434.7 billion The exports from the US to China increased by 16.9 percent in 2020 compared to 2019 
Most imported category from China to the US is “machines,” including broadcasting equipment, computers, office machine parts, etc.  USA’s top exports to China fall in the category of machines, including integrated circuits, valves, etc. The second most exported goods are transportation goods, including cars, planes, helicopters, vehicle parts, etc. 
China ranks as the 7th largest agricultural products supplier to the US, including processed fruit and veggies, food preparations, cat and dog food, juices, and other livestock items. The leading agricultural exports of the US to China include soybeans, pork products, cotton, corn, and coarse grains.
Services imports from China to the USA include transportation, research and development, and management services. Services export from the USA to China decreased significantly in 2020 ($40.4 billion) compared to 2019. 

Top Imports of the USA from China 

Aerial view container ship in port at container terminal port
Aerial view container ship in port at container terminal port Ship of container ship stand in terminal port on loading unloading container Commercial cargo ship in sea port

China is well-known for its technological advancements and developments. It is why China is one of the leading exporters of electronics and technology-based products. The USA also imports various goods belonging to China’s ‘machines’ and ‘transportation’ categories. 

These imported goods make up about 30-40% of all the imports from China. The data highlighted in this article is pulled by OEC world (2019 import and export data between the US and China). 

Top Imports of the USA from China

1. Broadcasting Equipment 

China is one of the top global exporters of broadcasting equipment. It supplies such equipment to the USA and other Asian and European countries. This type of imported product includes electrical machinery and apparatus used for transmitting and receiving signals for radio, TV, cameras, etc. 

2. Computers 

China has become one of the many countries that have achieved technological excellence. The USA imports about $41.6B worth of computers and related technology from China. It is the second most traded good between the two countries. 

3. Office Machine Parts 

The top third imported product from China to the USA is office machinery. It accounts for about $15B of the country’s imports. It includes all the hardware and software used as office equipment. 

4. Models and Stuffed Animals 

China is one of the leading exporters of stuffed animals worldwide, and the USA is one of the importers. It accounts for about 2.4% of all the imports of the USA from China and includes stuffed toys and games, such as construction sets, puzzles, trains, animals and human models, etc. 

5. Vehicle Parts 

The fifth most imported product from China to the US includes vehicle parts. Its trade value is around $9.6 billion as it accounts for about 2.24% of all China imports to the US.

6. Other Furniture 

China is the leading global furniture exporter, competing with Germany, Poland, Italy, and Mexico. USA imports furniture from China worth $8.94 billion. 

7. Seats 

Seats are imported from China against the trade value of $8.89 billion. Although seats are included in the furniture category, they are accounted for and valued separately. These goods include wooden frames for seats, upholstery, metal frames, etc.

8. Light Fixtures 

Though the USA is the fifth leading exporter of light fixtures, it imports many of these goods from China. These include ceiling or wall lights, chandeliers, lamps, glass fitting parts for the lights, etc. 

9. Video Displays 

Accounting for about $6.75 billion of all the imports in the country, the video display equipment and technology is the fourth most imported product in the USA from China. These products include color television receivers, projectors, monitors, monochrome TV receivers, and projectors. 

10. Electric Heaters 

On number five are the goods falling in the electric heaters category which the USA imports from China for $5.79 billion. These include equipment and apparatus for grilling and roasting, electric cooking, microwave ovens, coffee or tea makers, electro-thermal appliances, domestic heaters, soil heaters, immersion and storage water heaters, electric irons, etc. 

Top Exports from the US to China 

Container,container ship in import export and business logistic
containercontainer ship in import export and business logisticBy crane Trade Port Shippingcargo to harborAerial viewWater transportInternationalShell Marinetransportationbusinesslogistic

Here is a table highlighting the leading exports from the US to China:

Top Exports from the USA to China

1. Integrated Circuits 

The world trade of integrated circuits is worth $617B globally (according to the data of 2019 world trade). China is the second leading importer of integrated circuits, falling in the category of electrical machinery and equipment. These exported goods from the USA to China include monolithic integrated circuits, hybrid integrated circuits, etc.

2. Soybeans 

The second most exported product from the USA to China falls in the agricultural category. Soybeans account for approximately 7.64% of all the US exports to China. Their trade value is around $7.87 billion. 

3. Cars 

Accounting for about 7.12% of all the top exported goods of the US to China, cars are the third most traded goods between the two countries. This category of exported goods includes all sizes and types of cars such as large, medium, or small diesel engines, gas or turbine-powered, or golf cars.

4. Planes, Helicopters, Spacecraft 

Technological advancements by US professionals have made it possible for the country to export cars to China as the fourth most-traded good. It accounts for 5.99% of all the exports of the country. 

5. Medical Instruments 

These include various medical testing apparatus, needles, catheters, ophthalmic instruments, electro-cardiographs machinery, etc. 

6. Photo Lab Equipment 

The US exports equipment for the photo lab to China at a trade value of $2.95 billion. It includes equipment for automatic photo development, projection screens, and other related accessories. 

7. Crude Petroleum 

The world trade value for crude petroleum is about $986 billion making it the top traded good worldwide. The 2019 import and export data shows that China was the largest importer of crude oil while the USA was the second exporter. The trade value of crude petroleum between the USA and China is $2.93 billion. 

8. Blood, Antisera, Vaccines, Toxins, and Cultures  

This category of the most exported goods by the US to China includes various blood fractions, such as blood cultures, vaccines, etc., for medical purposes. The USA was the second leading exporter of this category of goods worldwide in 2019.

9. Chemical Analysis Instruments

It accounts for about 1.56% of all the export goods by the USA. It includes the various equipment and apparatus for physical or chemical analysis, microtomes, spectrometers, etc.  

10. Packaged Medicaments

The USA exported packaged medicaments to China against the trade value of $1.58 billion. This category includes medical goods such as hormones, insulin, Penicillin, alkaloids, etc. 


Several socio-political aspects of international relations have significantly impacted the trade relations between China and the US. However, maintaining trade relations with an emerging superpower is essential for the US to stay in touch with the current trade trends. Imports and exports define a country’s global standing among other nations regarding tangible and intangible power. 


  1. https://oec.world/en/profile/bilateral-country/usa/partner/chn 
  2. https://www.visualcapitalist.com/visualized-ranking-the-goods-most-traded-between-the-us-and-china/ 
  3. https://ustr.gov/countries-regions/china-mongolia-taiwan/peoples-republic-china 
  4. https://oec.world/en/profile/country/usa 
  5. https://oec.world/en/profile/country/chn 


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