The latest trade numbers released today by the Commerce Department reaffirm the importance of doubling U.S. exports over the next five years as outlined in President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI). The overall U.S. trade deficit grew unexpectedly to almost $50 billion in June, the highest level since October 2008, and imports increased 3 percent, while exports dropped 1.3 percent.

For goods, the deficit was $62 billion in June, up from $54.3 billion in May. The numbers reflect decreases in exports of capital goods and industrial supplies, while there were increased exports in the automotive sector and engines. Imports increased in June to $200.3 billion from $194.4 billion, led by telecommunications equipment, automobiles, pharmaceuticals and furniture.

If the goal is to strengthen the U.S. economy and job creation, then the best response is to expand U.S. exports as called for by both the National Association of Manufacturers and President Obama in his National Export Initiative. And that means we need to do much more – and quickly – to open foreign markets, assist U.S. companies to export more of their production, and enact policies that support innovation and a competitive manufacturing sector. Of the 15 leading manufacturing economies in the world, the United States is dead last in the percentage of production that is exported. The NAM’s “Blueprint to Double Exports in Five Years” points out that reaching this ambitious goal is possible, but only with a radical shift in policies and programs.

For additional information and to read the NAM’s Blueprint please visit