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The China-U.S. travel spending decline

Data: National Travel and Tourism Office; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

One of the few areas the U.S. holds a trade surplus with China is in travel. Significantly more Chinese visit the U.S. every year than Americans visit China, spending an estimated $36.3 billion last year.

Details: Tourism has been a major boost to U.S. businesses and has helped reduce the overall trade deficit with China.

Why it matters: The increase in tourism spending by Chinese year-over-year has been markedly slowing since 2016 and is seriously threatened by the escalating trade war, the U.S. Travel Association warns.

  • "The difficulty with trade skirmishes is that the unintended consequences are hard to predict, and we were concerned from the start that tensions with China might affect business and other travel to the U.S.," said the group's executive vice president for public affairs and policy Tori Barnes.
  • "The irony is that travel exports have been the greatest success story of our trade relationship with China, generating a $30 billion surplus and accounting for 19% of all our exports to that country in 2017."

Go deeper: Chinese tourism to the U.S. drops for first time in 15 years