40 China-US gap indicators: Before and after the trade war

By Wang Hongguang Source:Globaltimes.cn Published: 2020/4/21 0:31:51 Last Updated: 2020/4/21 4:51:39

Illustration: GT

Debates over China-US relations and whether the former as emerged has the stronger economy, or if China will be unable to catch up with the latter in a century, have arisen as the COVD-19 pandemic weighs on the trade war. 

The gap between the two largest economic powers has not altered much during the trade war as it approaches its second year.  In 2019, bilateral trade fell 7.2 percent from 2017, while China's trade surplus with the US increased by $20 billion.

Meanwhile, proportion of indicators lead by the US, comparing to China, have declined to 68 percent from 70 percent prior to the trade war. 

Four basic aspects and 40 indicators reveal that both arguments lack scientific data, and the "China is still developing" theory is the correct position.

Developed vs. Developing 

1. Population: Official data showed that China had 1.4 billion people in 2019, 4.3 times the US population. 

2. Arable land per person: the US had 0.47 hectares of arable land per capita in 2016, 5.2 times that of China.

3. Diplomatic relations: September 2019, the US had diplomatic relations with 10 more countries than China. By November, China had formed the largest diplomatic network with 276 diplomatic missions abroad, three more than the US.

4. Per capita income: US per capita disposable income was $36,000 in 2018, 8.4 times higher than China's.

5. Per capita consumption expenditure: US had $43,000 in 2018, 15.2 times higher than China's.

6. Household savings: China's recorded 36.8 percent in 2018, 4.8 times higher than the US.

7. Per capita housing: the US had 65 square meters in 2018, 1.7 times higher than China.

8. Average life expectancy: US - 78.5-years in 2018, 2.1 years longer than Chinese residents.

9. Per capita health expenditure: the US - $11,172 in 2018, 17 times higher than China.

10. Engel coefficient: China - 28.4 percent in 2018, 3.3 times more than the US.

11. Per capita energy consumption: the US was 3.1 times higher than China in 2018.  

12. Total museums and libraries: the US had 5.4 times more than China. 

13. Military spending: the US military budget was $643 billion in 2018, accounting for 36 percent of the world's military spending and 3.7 times that of China.

Economic Structure: China's economic output is expected to surpass the US in the future while lagging behind in per capita output

14. China's GDP growth rate in recent 70 years was 9 times higher than US GDP rates.  

15. GDP: China's GDP in 2019 equaled 67.8 percent of the US'.

16. 2019 GDP growth rate: China was 2.65 times higher than the US.

17. Labor productivity: In 2017, the US was 12 times higher than in China.

18. 2019 third industry GDP: China's was 27.1 percentage points less than the US

19. GDP per capita: the US' GDP per capita in 2019 was 6.3 times higher than China's.

20. National debt: US federal government debt in 2018 was 14.7 times more than China's national debt.

21. Added value of primary industries in 2019: China recorded 6.04 times than the US.

22. Added value of secondary industry in 2019: China was 1.4 times higher than the US.

23. Added value of third industry in 2019: China's equaled 45 percent of the US'.

24. Bilateral trade: China's trade surplus of $295.8 billion with the US in 2019, was up $20 billion from 2017.

25. 2019 Fortune Global 500 enterprises: China outranked the US by 9.

26. 2019 business environment: the US ranked 8. Meanwhile, China improved significantly and ranked 46 from 78 during the previous year.

27. Contribution to global economic growth in 2018: China contributed 30 percent of the global economic growth, twice as much as the US.

Innovation structure: similar indicators, but China continues to lag in quality

28. Innovative indicators: China leads with six quantitative indicators, such as the number of researchers. The US leads with seven quality indicators, including research funding.

29. Thesis: The US had 72 theses in the top 100 research papers published on Altmetric in 2018, almost seven times more than China.

30. Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT): China PCT applications were higher than US in 2019.

31. 2018 Research Funding: The US received 1.9 times more than China.

32. Research focus: the US focused on biology while China focused on information technology.

33. 2018 Innovative Index: US ranked 6th and China ranked 17th.

34. 2018 High-tech export value: China's was 4.9 times of that of the US

35. 2018 IP Import Value: the US' was 1.7 times higher than China's.

Education Structure: Significant gap remains without short-term solution 

36. Number of top 100 global universities in 2019: the US had 6.7 times more than China.

37. 2018 Education Expenditure: US was 1.3 times of that in China

38. 2019 Top Scientists: US was 3.7 times of that in China

39.  2018 Foreign Students Enrollment:  the US was 2.2 times higher than China.

40. 2015 University Admission Rate: US was 1.8 times of that in China

Both nations have unique advantages, like technology in the US and China's vast market, but bilateral relations and cooperation have been hindered by US politicians. 

The "China Collapse theory" has been collapsed, and "China Threat" theorists have been threatening others, "China Development theory" has been sustaining.

From a future perspective, the US, as the largest economy, will not accept being surpassed, but China will not give up the right of development. Bilateral relations "can neither return to the past nor maintain as present." Competition among large economies will be more strong, complex, repetitive and long-lasting.

Even with the trade war and the COVID-19 pandemic, the relationship between China and the US will continue to be between the largest developing and biggest developed country for years to come. The US has the most advanced technology and China has the largest market worldwide. Cooperation between both countries would set a historical and economic precedent. The trade war will not produce a winner and should end immediately. Once the pandemic is over, should the trade war continue, it would be the biggest human mistake of the 21st century. 

The author is director general of the Research Center of International Bioeconomy at Tsinghua University. Yin Zhixin, You Lei, Zhu Shu, Zhang Junxiang, Li Wenlan also contributed to the article. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn


blog comments powered by Disqus