U.S. trade in manufactured goods continued to improve in January 2010, according to the Commerce Department’s trade data released today. The seasonally-adjusted manufactured goods trade deficit decreased slightly in January compared to December 2008, and stood at -$28 billion, or an annual rate of -$337 billion. That stands in sharp contrast to the peak manufactured goods deficit of $520 billion in mid-2006.
Seasonally-adjusted January data show that U.S. exports of manufactured goods were $80.3 billion, up 16 percent over January 2009. Manufactured goods imports were $108.3 billion, up 6.5 percent from last January.
America’s manufacturers continue to account for about 60 percent of U.S. exports of goods and services, so the recovery in manufactured goods exports is good news for the economy and for future job prospects. While the recovery is taking place at a rapid pace, manufactured goods exports are still nearly 20 percent below their July 2008 peak.
The rate at which exports are now expanding puts us in good shape to launch the effort the President has called for to double U.S. exports in five years. That translates into an ambitious 15 percent a year growth rate, and achievement of the goal will require far-reaching changes in U.S. trade policy to open foreign markets more rapidly – particularly through an ambitious program for bilateral trade promotion agreements. An ambitious Doha Round, additional steps to bolster U.S. competitiveness, and other major steps will be needed as well.