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What's China buying from the U.S.?

March 27, 2012: 11:04 AM ET

U.S. exports to China topped $100 billion for the first time in 2011, the latest in a series of rapid expansions, according to a new report from the US-China Business Council.

That means China -- the world's second largest economy -- trails only Canada and Mexico as a buyer of American goods. Exports hit $103.9 billion in 2011, an increase of $12 billion over the previous year.

The recent growth will go a long way toward meeting President Obama's goal of doubling exports by 2014. But what is China buying? And from whom?

China bought $14.7 billion in U.S. crops in 2011, plus $13.7 billion of computers and electronics, $13.6 billion of chemicals and $13.2 billion worth of transportation equipment.

China also purchased a rather large amount of waste and scrap --  $11.5 billion worth.

As a consequence of favorable geography, China sources most of its purchases from states on the west coast. California is the top exporting state, sending $14.2 billion of goods across the Pacific. Washington and Texas are next, both registering totals north of $10 billion.

It is possible, however, that China's slowing economy could hit American exports in the coming months. The Chinese government has lowered its growth target for this year, and has twice hiked gasoline prices in recent months. Other reports have indicated that China's manufacturing sector is contracting.

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About This Author
Charles Riley
Charles Riley
Reporter, CNNMoney

Charles Riley lives and works in Hong Kong, where he covers markets, economics and other high-impact stories across Asia. He previously worked for CNNMoney in New York and CNN in Washington. He tweets @CRrileyCNN

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