A surge across the board in U.S. exports to China will yield the United States a trade surplus of about $2 billion this year, according to Christopher Phillips, president of the National Council for U.S.-China Trade.
The council, a semi-official conduit for trade relations between the two countries, was formed in 1973 before diplomatic contacts were resumed at the end of 1978.
Phillips said that data gathered by the council indicate that U.S. exports will approach $3 billion in 1980, while imports from China will be about $1 billion. The $4 billion total trade figure would be almost double the $2.3 billion level in 1979, including exports of $1.7 billion and imports of $600 million.
Trade this year shows increasing Chinese interest in U.S. manufactured products, which account for roughly 45 percent of the projected export total. In 1979, the manufactured product share of the total was roughly one-third, with two-thirds in agricultural products.
In 1978, the last year before full "normalization" of relations with China, U.S. exports were only $900 million, and imports were $300 million -- a total two-way trade of $1.3 billion.
Phillips predicted that the trend to increased trade would continue with China's prospects for sales here steadily improving as that country is able to benefit from its new access to "most-favored-nation" status.
Additionally, China hopes to benefit from aggressive promotion of its export potential. Despite earlier reports that China's first trade exhibitions in this country were having money problems, the fairs will open on schedule in San Francisco on Sept. 13, Phillips said.
The American organizer of the exhibition -- the China Exhibition Corp. of New York -- was said to be having trouble raising the $4.7 million cost of the three-city exhibition tour. But Phillips said yesterday that "initial difficulties have been overcome" with wide-ranging corporate support and a heavy advance sale of tickets in San Francisco.
All of the 18 Chinese foreign trading corporations will have representatives at the trade fair in San Francisco and also later in Chicago and New York, giving American importers a chance to see what the Chinese are offering for sale without going to the Canton trade fair.
In New York, the head of the China Exhibition Corp., Gilbert A. Robinson, said the exhibition would run from Sept. 13 to 28 in San Francisco, from Oct. 25 to Nov. 9 in Chicago and from Dec. 6 to 21 in New York. A special 24-page promotional advertising section produced by the New York Times also will be carried by the San Francisco Chronicle and in partial runs by the Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post.