US has run Up $5.5 trillion in trade deficits with China
Since 1985, the first year for which the Census Bureau has posted this nation's bilateral merchandise trade deficits on its website, the United States has accumulated $5.5 trillion in trade deficits with China.
No other nation comes close.
In 2019, America's seven top trading partners -- when measured by the total dollar value of the bilateral trade in goods -- were Mexico ($614.5 billion), Canada ($612.4 billion), China ($558.9 billion), Japan ($218.3 billion), Germany ($187.8 billion), South Korea ($134.4 billion) and the United Kingdom ($132.3 billion).
By far, however, the least balanced relationship -- both last year and in recent decades -- has been with China.
In the 35 years from 1985 through 2019, according to Census Bureau data, the United States ran a cumulative merchandise trade deficit with China of $5,501,227,400,000.
Among the seven nations that were our leading trading partners as of 2019, the second-largest cumulative deficit over that 35-year period was the $2,240,119,400,000 deficit the United States ran with Japan.
Thus, the cumulative trade deficit with China over the last 35 years was almost 2.5 times as large as the cumulative trade deficit with Japan.
The cumulative trade deficits with Mexico ($1,276,017,400,000), Germany ($1,222,887,800,000), Canada ($1,065,139,400,000), South Korea ($410,304,300,000) and the United Kingdom ($33,598,300,000) were much smaller.
In fact, in 16 of the 35 years on record, the United States actually ran a merchandise trade surplus with the United Kingdom.
But China is an outlier.