Questions about U.S. Trade with China

The debate over how to address trade disputes with China is often polluted with hyperbole and rhetoric, and it is important to be equipped with the facts about U.S. trade with China. Contrary to the rhetoric, trade between the U.S. and China benefits both countries. The U.S. should hold trading partners, such as China, accountable for violations of their international obligations.

In recent months, however, the Trump Administration has imposed tariffs on more than $250 billion worth of goods from China, rather than primarily addressing its concerns through the World Trade Organization. Heritage Foundation released a special report to answer common questions about U.S.–China trade with facts and data. The purpose of this Special Report is to answer 11 common questions that are driving the debate regarding trade with China. Each question is answered with facts, and in most instances, supporting data.


There has been no net job loss due to U.S. trade with China or any other country. Manufacturing employment has decreased, but jobs in other sectors have increased.

Since 1999, real manufacturing output has increased by more than $220 billion. Output in 2017 was higher than before China joined the WTO in 2001.

Exports, imports, and net foreign direct investment between the U.S. and China have been growing rapidly since 1999.

Question #1: Has America Lost Thousands of Jobs to China?

Answer #1: America has not lost net jobs due to trade with China, or with any other country.

Question #2: Is Manufacturing in America Dead?

Answer #2: Manufacturing in America is not dead. Employment and productivity only tell part of the manufacturing industry’s story. A look at real manufacturing output in the U.S. in Chart 3 demonstrates that Americans produce a remarkable amount of manufactured goods. Since 1999, real manufacturing output has increased by more than $220 billion.

Question #3: Is China Dumping Steel into the U.S. Market?

Answer #3: Many imports of steel products from China have been found to be dumped or subsidized, and additional tariffs have been applied for a short period of time. Today, many of America’s top suppliers of steel are close U.S. allies, such as Canada and South Korea. Steel imports from China represent only about 3.4 percent of all U.S. steel imports, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Rest of the questions are available at