Lane pointed out that the United States exports more to Canada and Mexico ($500 million) than to the 13 biggest economies combined, including China, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Russia. The United States is at near parity with Canada ($10 billion deficit, mostly due to oil imports), while the deficit with Mexico is about $50 billion, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics. The deficit with Mexico is relatively small given the amount of two-way trade involved, Lane insisted.
On a per capita basis, the average NAFTA consumer buys more than $3,000 in American products, and consumers in nations belonging to free-trade agreements average about $700 to $800 in purchases from the United States.
China joined the WTO in 2000 based on its development level in the late 1990s and terms that made sense 17 years ago, but China is a major economy now and doesn’t need to maintain double-digit tariffs anymore, Lane said.
There is no reason why an industrial powerhouse like China needs the kinds of protections it may have needed in 1990s.