Comparing ASEAN Trade with United States and China

Trade by the ten ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries has been steadily increasing with both China and the United States (US). However the ASEAN trade with China has been increasing much faster than that with the US. Since 2010, China has doubled its trade amount with the ASEAN countries, while the US trade with ASEAN has only increased by 50%. In 2018, the China-ASEAN trade reached $589.7 billion, while the US-ASEAN trade attained $277.8 billion. 

For the United States, the top 5 trade partners within ASEAN are Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. However, Vietnam is the biggest exporter ($51.3 billion in 2018) to the US, while Singapore is the biggest importer ($33.1 billion in 2018) from America. Overall, the US maintains a constant trade deficit with the ASEAN region and in 2018, its trade deficit reached $111.2 billion. Eight out of ten ASEAN countries have steadily recorded a trade surplus with the United States over the past few years. 


The ASEAN Economic Community signed a free trade agreement with China in 2010. Since then, trade has rapidly increased. China's top 5 trade partners within ASEAN are Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. For both export and import, the China-Vietnam trade comes out on top, reaching $148.1 billion in 2018 and representing about 25% of China's total trade with ASEAN. Overall, China has maintained a positive trade balance with the ASEAN region since 2012. China has maintained from 2016 a trade deficit with Laos, Thailand and Malaysia. In 2018, China has a trade surplus of $71.6 billion with the ASEAN region.