General Question

Plone3000's avatar

About how much money Does the U.S. owe China?

Asked by Plone3000 (668points) October 17th, 2012

I have heard a lot of debate over this. It you could give me A legitimate source I would really like that as well.

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11 Answers

wonderingwhy's avatar

Looks like $1.15T or about 10% of our total public debt, give or take. Which also equates to a $28.5B interest payment estimated in 2012. However China hasn’t been increasing it’s holdings to maintain pace and therefore has a lesser total percentage than it did at it’s peak in 2010 with ~12%

Just for a quick comparison from the same article Japan holds around $1.12T, and total foreign held debt was at $5.43T in August.

Washington Post 1
Washington Post 2
Washington Post 3

BhacSsylan's avatar

Here’s another source, using the same data, for a nice pie chart

KNOWITALL's avatar

1. China, Mainland, $1149.6 billion dollars

Plone3000's avatar

Why thank you all very much. I don’t want this to become too political but doesn’t it seem a bit odd that some people say that “China has unfair trading polices”. If the U.S. owes them that much then we shouldn’t complain, right?

KNOWITALL's avatar

I don’t have a lot of time to explain but perhaps this article will help.

Coloma's avatar

That’s a lot of won tons. :-/

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Plone3000 Every time we buy something made in China we are effectively sending dollars to China. Our trade imbalance is roughly $400B per year. That comes to ~$1300 per person per year for every American. Think about what you spend a WallyWorld and where the good were made. That flat TV, that phone, your monitor, your computer, the batteries…
Try selling something in China. Depending upon what it is, you will be permitted to do it for one year while the volumes are low – after you supply a “localization plan”. That means actually building it in China. And that is the end of your profit stream.
They know it is not healthy to ship their wealth out of the country.

Nullo's avatar

@Coloma As it happens, it’s the Koreas that use the won. :P

dabbler's avatar

“China has unfair trading policies” is a distraction from the basic problem that the trade agreements we do have are flawed. They were probably advantageous to the US at first when we sold the Chinese manufacturing equipment and other big-ticket infrastructure items.

It’s also a distraction from the fact that all the rest of that debt is in the hands of someone else. Plenty of it is in the hands of funds (like pension funds or mutual funds) who are looking for a risk-free place to park billions. Some is in the hands of high-net-worth persons who enjoy the tax-free status of US government securities for fed/state/local taxes.

The neo-cons don’t mind the huge U.S. debt, they embrace it for its tax-free/risk-free contribution to the bottom line and for the hobbling effect it has on the federal government. Both give them more power.

Plone3000's avatar

But the U.S. exports subsidized goods to countries that can not afford subsidized goods all the time, corn being the biggest one.

victornewman's avatar

Way too much. Enough for them to own us. And it’s only gonna get worst under the new re-election of obama=(

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