How Sino-American relations have progressed over 50 years

World Today

The U.S. and China’s modern trading relationship has spanned nearly 50 years.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman looks back at how Sino-American relations have progressed.

The U.S.- China trade relationship is one of the most important in the world and the two sides are now at a crossroads as leaders gather in Washington for the U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue.

The modern economic relationship between China and the United States began in 1971 when the U.S. lifted a two-decade long trade embargo, removing barriers in place following World War Two.

A year later, President Richard Nixon visited China and met with Chairman Mao Zedong, ushering in a new era of Sino-American relations.

By the end of the 1970s, trade between the countries was doubling each year.

In 1980, both sides granted the other “Most Favored Nation” trading status. Through the 80’s, reforms in China led to even more trade. Special economic zones established in Guangdong and Fujian provinces accelerated the pace.

The 1990s saw further opening and market based reforms.

In 2001, China became a member of the World Trade Organization, and Chinese imports to the U.S. soared.

In 2006, the first U.S. – China Strategic Economic Dialogue was held in Beijing.

China became the biggest trading partner with the U.S. in 2015, surpassing neighboring Canada.

Trade in goods has grown from almost nothing in 1971 to nearly $600 billion in 2016

China is now the largest importer to the U.S it’s the third largest export market for the U.S., behind Mexico and Canada.

Despite occasional political tensions between the two countries, the trade relationship remains vital to the world economy and it’s in the interests of both countries to see it continue to flourish.