WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Association of Manufacturers greeted today’s report that U.S. exports are continuing to rise as confirmation that free trade agreements are a win-win for the country.
The U.S. Department of Commerce reported that the nation’s trade balance continued to improve in August with manufactured goods representing 84 percent of U.S. goods exported. The August deficit in manufactured goods was nearly 10 percent lower than a year ago, and manufactured goods exports were up 10 percent, while imports were up 3 percent over the year ago period.
“The August figures are even better than the year-to-date January-August figures, which show manufactured exports up 10 percent and imports up only 5 percent,” said Frank Vargo, NAM vice president for international economic affairs. “The global value of the dollar is really helping us. U.S. manufactured goods exports are the strongest element in our economy now and are helping offset difficulties in the housing sector. We need this growth to continue.
“A lot of people are calling the dollar ‘weak,’ but looking at the Federal Reserve Board’s index for the value of the dollar, it is clear the dollar has only returned to the relative value it had 10 years ago against the broad range of currencies,” Vargo said. “While the dollar has risen more against the euro than a lot of other currencies, in part this is because some important currencies such as the Chinese yuan are kept undervalued by government intervention.”
Vargo said the other factor helping U.S. trade is free trade partners.
“The manufactured goods deficit with NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), for example, is smaller than it was six years ago — a fact that most people have overlooked,” he said. “Our manufactured goods deficit with our free trade partners is less than 6 percent of the total now. Fully 94 percent of our manufactured goods deficit is with countries that don’t have free trade agreements with us. The message is clear and unequivocal: free trade agreements are good for our country.
“Congress should be falling all over itself to get as many more trade agreements as possible so our trade balance can continue to improve,” Vargo said.