Jay Dinnison ought to be threatened by China. His tiny Seattle machine shop, which turns out finely crafted metal, is the kind of mom-and-pop...

Share story

Jay Dinnison ought to be threatened by China.

His tiny Seattle machine shop, which turns out finely crafted metal, is the kind of mom-and-pop place being put out of business by cheaper factories in Shanghai.

But China’s choking smog and insatiable hunger for electricity have created a niche for Dinnison’s company: supplying $20,000, custom-built mixers that help scrub sulfur from the smokestacks of power plants.

Instead of laying employees off, Sharpe Mixers has added a second shift and is expanding. It still can’t keep up with demand. China builds a power plant a week, most fired with coal.

“We landed a million dollars worth of orders last week,” said Dinnison, who started at the family-owned company at 16 and is now chief executive.

For many Americans, China has come to symbolize job loss and cheap stuff at Wal-Mart.

But it also has a colossal appetite.

To keep running, the world’s third-largest economy needs Boeing jets, Microsoft software, office towers, legal advice, apples, wheat. All of these it buys from companies based in Washington.

In a world of increasingly free trade, feeding China is the best policy, the trade experts say. Piracy, fraud, even job loss will fade, they say, as China grows, prospers and joins the international community through groups such as the World Trade Organization.

Here are the key sectors in which Washington sells to China, and where experts see growth opportunities.

Services: Seattle architecture firms are busy in China designing shopping malls, office towers, apartments.

Technology: Windows dominates the PC market, but theft remains a big problem.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Aerospace: Boeing’s orders are growing as the market grows.

Retail: Starbucks and Amazon.com see China as a crucial market.

Agriculture: Exports of wheat and apples are growing.

Manufacturing: China buys what it can’t make.