Tracing The Largest Global Trading Partners From 1960 to 2020

Despite the various hurdles presented by inflated shipping costs and supply chain problems, the global trade market increased an astounding 23% in 2021 compared to the last year. Now estimated at $28 trillion, there are several global trading partners. And the biggest partner among them is China.

But that was not always the case. Before China landed the top spot, there was another name at the place for the most significant global trading partner - the United States. So how did China overtake the superpower? Let’s find out.

The story started in the 1960s when the US witnessed a post-war economic boom. They saw a rising middle class that brought about good economic growth. As a result, there was high demand for luxury goods, allowing various industries to start production.

At the same time, Europe too was going through some changes. Although Britain was the leading trading partner here, the countries were trying to band together to bring power and harmony. Around this time, the EFTA, or the European Free Trade Association too, was created to facilitate free trade agreements between several European countries.

However, in 1990, Britain’s trading powers took a severe hit when a newly united Germany entered the game. Their automobile industry took off with a blast becoming second only to Japan. Their sudden boom made them one of the biggest trading hubs.

Around this time, China too began emerging as a global leader. Their economy started picking up rapidly under the reign of Deng Xiaoping, who focused on international trade and foreign investment. The country also became a member of the World Trade Organization, which helped its economic boost, establishing it as a significant global trading partner.

And by 2020, China swiftly overtook the US, increasing the tension between the countries. Both of them have been setting up tariffs and barriers to harm the other. Thus, there is no end in sight, no clear winner yet.

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