China Helping Boost U.S. Economy Despite Currency Concerns

Last year, $70B worth of U.S. goods were sold and 437K jobs were created.

CHINA, Nov. 17, 2010 — -- This election cycle, Republicans and Democrats took turns accusing each other of spending billions of dollars to create jobs in China and pledging tax breaks to companies shipping jobs to China.

But last year $70 billion worth of American goods were sold in China and 437,000 jobs were created in the U.S.

Tyson Foods ships $200 million worth of chicken to China every year. Boeing is expected to make 3,700 planes for China in the next 20 years. There's also Motorola with its shipments of cell phones to the growing Chinese market.

However, ire over what the White House has called the artificial weakening of China's currency seems to be overshadowing American business successes.

"China, its currency is valued lower than market conditions would say it should be," President Obama said in September during a CNBC town hall. "And what that means is essentially that they can sell stuff cheaper here and our stuff, when we try to sell there, is more expensive. So it gives them an advantage in trade."

That "advantage" translated to a $227 billion trade surplus last year alone.

And today, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission added to the chorus, saying that China is creating global imbalances and using "market access-limiting practices" that fall outside its World Trade Organization commitments.

"Although the size of China's holdings has raised concerns about the degree of influence China has on the U.S. economy, the lack of alternatives and the potential detrimental impacts on China's economy make it unlikely that China would stop buying U.S. debt or liquidate its holdings altogether," the panel's report said, according to The Associated Press.

Chinese Goods Between 15 and 40 Percent Cheaper

"The Chinese make sure that their currency is precisely what they want it to be against the dollar," said Mark Zandi, the chief economist of Moody's Analytics.

"This makes all the goods from China between 15 percent to 40 percent less costly than they would be otherwise," said Ted Fishman, author of "China, Inc."

Common items like umbrellas, socks and toys from China are far less expensive than their U.S. counterparts. China's low currency also makes factories less expensive to run and workers cheaper to pay.

And that's why it's so hard to bring jobs to China.

Yingli Solar, a company with a factory south of Beijing that manufactures solar panels, is now considering a site in the U.S. as its list of American clients grows.

The company, which pays an average salary of $5,000 a year in China, acknowledges that it would have to pay more in the U.S. but says it would be worth it to be closer to the U.S. consumer and American innovation.

But as copyright experts and government officials will agree, getting China to pay for that innovation has been a huge hurdle.

"I think if you talk to anyone in the software business, in the high-tech business, they would tell you China is guilty of more than a little theft of intellectual property," said author Thomas Friedman.

Eric Smith, co-founder of the International Intellectual Property Alliance, put the piracy rate of software in China at 82 percent. He said it was a continuing problem because the Chinese government refused to criminalize software piracy.

Moody's Zandi said even if Chinese currency were raised significantly, it would not create U.S. jobs immediately.

"Not ... in huge numbers," he said. "What it will do is send prices on those cheap Chinese products we buy shooting forward."

ABC News' Jake Tapper and The Associated Press contributed to this article.