Saturday, January 25, 2014
335. George Washington's Vision on the Trade between the United States and China
In 1789, when George Washington was elected as the first president of the United States, he fully stated the significance of the China trade to his still-young country. He told the Marquis de Lafayette that the national revenues had been considerably more productive than had been imagined they would be because of the China trade. He then listed some examples: "A single vessel just arrived in this port pays $30,000 to government. Two vessels fitted out for the fur trade to the northwest coast of America have succeeded well. The whole outfits of vessels and cargoes cost but $7,000. One is returning home loaded with India produce, the other going back to the coast of America; and they have deposited $100,000 of their profits in China."
Since 1784, the value of American trade with China increased greatly. In 1790, it was estimated that trade with China accounted for about one seventh of US imported goods. By 1792, the value of the American trade with China had surpassed that of Holland, France and Denmark, and was second only to Great Britain, which had had established commercial relations with China for over 100 years. In 1840, American business with China amounted to nearly US$75 million, a sum greater than the total debt of the American Revolution.