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ITA Illuminates the Path for U.S. Lighting Manufacturers at the Guangzhou International Lighting Expo (GILE) U.S. Pavilion

July 31, 2017

Gary Stanley is Director of ITA’s Office of Materials Industries, Industry & Analysis

Attendees tour the USA Pavilion at the Guangzhou International Lighting Expo (GILE) trade show, where there was record high attendance at this ITA Trade Fair Certified event.

Attendees tour the USA Pavilion at the Guangzhou International Lighting Expo (GILE) trade show, where there was record high attendance at this ITA Trade Fair Certified event.

Chinese customers and U.S. lighting product and service providers flooded the U.S. Pavilion at this year’s Guangzhou International Lighting Expo (GILE) trade show, reflecting the record high attendance at this ITA Trade Fair Certified event. For the U.S. lighting companies exhibiting at GILE, the U.S. Pavilion provided a critical nexus for networking, business-to-business meetings, lighting industry expert presentations on growth segments in China’s lighting market, and ITA export counseling.

U.S. lighting products, known for their quality and performance, are strongly competitive in China. While China’s overall imports of lighting declined at an annualized rate of -5.7 percent during 2011-2016, its imports of lighting from the United States grew at a healthy 2.9 percent annualized rate during this period. The U.S. share of China’s lighting import market has grown from 5.1 percent in 2011 to 7.8 percent in 2016. China reported lighting imports from the world of $2.1 billion in 2016, down from $2.8 billion five years earlier.

The total U.S. lighting export portfolio to the world was $3.1 billion in 2016.  China is the third largest market for U.S. lighting product exporters, behind Canada and Mexico. While China receives only 3.5 percent of overall U.S. lighting product exports, it is a growth market for U.S. exporters.  U.S. exports to China have grown at an annualized rate of just under 4 percent over the last five years. This growth far outstrips the 1.6 percent annualized growth of the $3.1 billion overall U.S. lighting product export portfolio during the same period.

The United States imported more than $11.3 billion in lighting products from the world in 2016, including $6.2 billion from China. China is by far the largest source of lighting product imports with a 55.2 percent U.S. import market share. This market share has remained fairly consistent since 2011, when China held 55.8 percent of a smaller U.S. lighting import market of $7.7 billion. The United States has a trade deficit in lighting products with the world that grew at an annualized rate of 11 percent between 2011 and 2016, standing at $8.3 billion at the end of that period. The U.S. trade deficit with China in lighting products likewise has grown from $4.2 billion in 2011 to $6.1 billion in 2016, reflecting a 7.8 percent annualized growth rate during that period.

Exhibitors presenting in the U.S. Pavilion, including McWong, Luminit and Alpha Assembly Solutions, emphasized Chinese lighting market demand trends that suggest continued strong competitiveness for U.S. products that enable interconnectivity, interoperability, and sophisticated control technologies. American companies can further improve their competitiveness by improving lighting efficiency and power through the use of high-purity materials and precision-engineered materials substrates, both hallmarks of U.S. products.

Additional information on China’s lighting market, other top U.S. lighting export markets and U.S. Government resources available to U.S. exporters is available in ITA’s Top Markets Building Products and Sustainable Construction study.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Trade Fair Certification program is a cooperative partnership arrangement between private sector show organizers and the U.S. government to increase U.S. exports and to expand U.S. participation in overseas trade shows.

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