A recent 2010 History Channel documentary showed nearly all containers ships bringing manufactured product to the US, go back to china empty. By contrast Australia has the opposite situation where exports of raw material to China are bringing a surplus.
This 2009 graphic shows how the current imbalance of trade exacerbates the financial state of the North America with USA and Canada as consumer in large quantities of China products.
US companies previously dominated manufacturing to supply the world and their domestic markets The 30 year transition that moved supply sources to China has resulted in the crisis position, where traditional manufacturing is much less significant or gone in many sectors and unemployment is an all time permanent high. US Consumers including those on welfare now have no choice to buy imported goods until the country runs out of money.
As the US look at ways to balance the books to redress the imbalance, albeit slow and painful, local supply culture is changing so it can compete .
Other counties watching how this generational pendulum moves, need to watch these dynamics as the US restores its balance of trade.