While lawmakers in Washington and Beijing negotiate agreements over commercial and trade issues such as cybersecurity and intellectual property rights, state and local governments and businesses have been embracing trade with China.

Governors from California, Iowa, Virginia, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Guam have already visited the country on trade missions in 2013, and more than a dozen states currently have offices in China to promote trade and investment. California Gov. Jerry Brown recently reopened the state’s trade office in Shanghai, which was closed in 2003 because of budget cuts, according to Bloomberg.

In 2012, the United States exported $108.6 billion worth of goods to China, making it the third-largest US export market, according to a recent report by the US-China Business Council. (USCBC is the publisher of the China Business Review.) China ranked as one of the top three export markets for 34 states, and 30 states exported more than $1 billion worth of goods to China. And since 2009—when US exports to China dipped slightly because of the global economic slowdown—12 states have doubled their exports to China.

The top 10 states exported $59.9 billion worth of goods to China in 2012, accounting for more than half of all US exports to China. Here is a summary of the states that exported the most goods to China in 2012.

1. California

2012 export value: $13.6 billion

China is California’s third-largest export market. California’s top export to China in 2012 was computers and electronics, valued at $3.9 billion, followed by waste and scrap, machinery, transportation equipment, and chemicals. Though California’s exports to China dropped slightly from 2011, the state’s exports to China have grown by 156 percent since 2003.

2. Texas

2012 export value: $10.1 billion

China is Texas’ third-largest export market. In 2012, the state exported $3.7 billion worth of chemicals and $1.4 billion worth of computers and electronics. Other top exports included machinery, crop production, and waste and scrap. Since 2003, the state’s exports to China have grown by 229 percent, while exports to the rest of the world have grown by 170 percent.

Crop production was Illinois' top export to China in 2012. (Photo by Dewayne Neeley via Flickr)

Crop production was Illinois’ top export to China in 2012. (Photo by Dewayne Neeley via Flickr)

3. Washington

2012 export value: $7.9 billion

China is Washington’s second-largest export market after Canada. The state exported $4.9 billion worth of transportation equipment and $534 million worth of computers and electronics, followed by waste and scrap, primary metal manufacturing, and forestry products. Washington’s exports to China have grown by 239 percent since 2003, while exports to the rest of the world have grown by 89 percent.

4. Illinois

2012 export value: $6.1 billion

China is Illinois’ third-largest export market. In 2012, the state exported $2.4 billion worth of crops. Machinery, waste and scrap, computers and electronics, and beverages and tobacco rounded out the top five exports. Since 2003, the state’s exports to China have grown by 422 percent.

5. New York

2012 export value: $4.2 billion

China is New York’s fifth-largest export market after Canada, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The state’s top export to China in 2012 was waste and scrap at $1.2 billion, followed by transportation equipment, machinery, chemicals, and computers and electronics. Though exports in 2012 are slightly lower than 2011, when the state exported $4.3 billion worth of goods, New York’s exports to China have grown 192 percent since 2003.

6. Georgia

2012 export value: $3.8 billion

China is Georgia’s second-largest export market after Canada. In 2012, the state exported $797 million worth of transportation equipment and $681 million worth of paper products, followed by crop production, machinery, and waste and scrap. Since 2003, the state’s exports to China have grown by 443 percent, while Georgia’s exports to the rest of the world have grown by 105 percent.

7. Michigan

2012 export value: $3.7 billion

China is Michigan’s third-largest export market. At $1.6 billion, transportation equipment is the state’s top export to China, followed by crop production, machinery, primary metal manufacturing, and chemicals. Michigan’s exports to China have grown by 743 percent since 2003, while the state’s exports to the rest of the world have grown by 63 percent.

8. Ohio

2012 export value: $3.7 billion

China is Ohio’s third-largest export market. Crop production was the state’s largest export to China at $1.1 billion. Machinery, transportation equipment, chemicals, and computers and electronics were among the state’s top export to China. Since 2003, Ohio’s exports to China have grown by 344 percent, while exports to the rest of the world have grown by 57 percent.

Waste and scrap was New York's top export to China in 2012. (Photo by Matt Kane via Flickr)

Waste and scrap was New York’s top export to China in 2012. (Photo by Matt Kane via Flickr)

9. Minnesota

2012 export value: $3.5 billion

China is Minnesota’s third-largest export market. In 2012, the state exported $1.5 billion worth of crops to China. The state’s top exports also included machinery, computers and electronics, and minerals and ores. Since 2003, Minnesota’s exports to China have grown by 418 percent, while exports to the rest of the world have grown by 75 percent.

10. South Carolina

2012 export value: $3.3 billion

China is South Carolina’s third-largest export market. The state exported $1.8 billion worth of transportation equipment in 2012. Other top exports included chemicals, machinery, computers and electronics, and waste and scrap. Since 2001, South Carolina’s exports to China have grown by 1,001 percent, while exports to the rest of the world have grown by 93 percent.

[author] Christina Nelson ([email protected]) is editor of the China Business Review. [/author]

(Photos by KM&G-Morris, Dewayne Neeley, and Matt Kane via Flickr)

Posted by Christina Nelson