I’ve always been curious about this, so I did a little digging. What do we import the most of from China? In the past twenty-plus years, China has evolved from a heavy equipment machinery exporter to a prominent leader in technology product exports. In fact, today the lion’s share of what we import from China is related to computers and electronics.
Large international conglomerates have established an enormous manufacturing presence throughout China, utilizing its cheap labor and quick turnaround times. China’s manufacturing plants are among the most modern in the world, producing large capacities almost entirely for export.
As the world’s appetite for electronic devices has grown, so has China’s ability to manufacture and export these devices. As a product exporter, China is able to manufacture and export finished products worldwide.
In addition, China is also an exporter of components, which may be used in the manufacture and assembly of products in other countries, such as the United States. By exporting components in addition to finished products, China is able to hedge against tariff issues and labor costs should they become a major factor.
Sources: WTO, IMF, U.S. Dept. of Commerce