U.S. Exports to China Have Increased by 21% per Year Since 2005, Twice the 11% Growth in Imports
Another way to describe the trend: in 2005, there were about $6 of imports from China for every $1 of exports to China, and by 2011 the ratio of Chinese imports-to-U.S. exports to China had fallen to less than 4. Conversely, the ratio of U.S. exports-to-Chinese imports has risen from 17% to 26% since 2005.
Also, the current level of monthly imports from China (about $36-38 billion) is only slightly higher than the $34 billion peak in 2008 during the recession, while the current volume of U.S. exports to China (about $10 billion) is more than 50% above the $6.5 billion peak as the recession started in late 2007.
Although we still have a trade deficit with China, its relative size (in relation to the total volume of trade with China) has been shrinking over time. As disposable incomes increase in China and as more Chinese enter the new middle class there, their purchases of American goods have increased at a faster rate than our purchases of their products. That's a trend that we can expect to continue.