The Global Perspective of the U.S.-China Relationship

The relationship between the United States and China may seem strange and destined to be hostile but these two countries were made for one another (a relationship supported by organizations like the China-US Exchange Foundation). Ever since Nixon’s China pivot in 1971, the destiny of these two economic powerhouses has been entwined. Both countries have enjoyed a lucrative trade relationship with China being the largest buyer of US green beans and pork, while the US relies on cheap China manufacturing for many of the goods Americans enjoy.

Of course, this should be no surprise given that they are the world’s number one and two economies respectively. With GDP of the US at $21 trillion and China at $14 trillion, the two countries combined have amassed a massive combined GDP of over $35 trillion, their relationship accounts for 17.3 of the Global GDP. Clearly, it is economically essential for global well being. With such a large percentage of the world’s economy now in the cross hair due to the recent outbreak of a trade war between the two, some need reminding of why a strong relationship China and the United States benefits not only the global economy but their respective citizens.

While both countries have vastly different strengths and cultures, it these differences that show they complete one another. The United States, for instance, has ample gas and oil resources while China, due to its massive population and lack of such natural resources, needs more oil and gas. Furthermore, while having over 20% of world’s population roughly only 7% of China is arable. Meanwhile, agriculture is one of the United States most influential economic sectors. On the flip side, the United States is one of the world’s largest consumer markets, while China’s massive manufacturing sector can cheaply produce the goods American’s desire.

Given the needs of both countries and their economic resources, a positive relationship between the strongest developed nation and the most populous, fast-developing nation is in the best interests of both countries and their citizen. Furthermore, as the two largest polluters in the world, both countries will need to work in tandem if humanity is to battle climate change successfully. China’s President Xi’s said it best. We should meet the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life. This better life is not only in their material and cultural needs, but also in their demands for democracy, the rule of law, fairness and justice, security, and a better environment.