This essay provides an overview of current trade patterns between New England and China. It was prepared for a symposium sponsored by The Boston Athenaeum comparing New England’s present-day trade with China to the region’s prominence in the U.S.-China trade of the 19th century. The essay concludes that a special trade relationship between New England and China does not exist at the present time. Although New England’s exports to China are growing rapidly, they are not growing markedly faster than exports from the rest of the country, and China does not account for an unusually large fraction of New England’s exports. Moreover, there is some indication that New England has felt the brunt of competition from Chinese imports more strongly than other regions. In one arena, New England does hold a special position: New England universities are highly regarded in China, and the region’s share of Chinese students is above its population share—although in line with its share of foreign students generally.
Keywords: trade, China, New England, foreign students
JEL classification codes: F10, I29, R11