Surplus with Trade Agreement Partners Continues to Grow

By July 6, 2011Trade

On the eve of the House and Senate “mock markups” of the pending trade agreements with Korea, Panama and Colombia, an analysis of Commerce Department data shows that America’s existing trade agreements are doing even better than earlier data showed.

For the last three years, according to the Commerce Department data, U.S. manufactured goods trade with America’s 17 trade agreement partners (including those in NAFTA and CAFTA) was in cumulative surplus by $72.2 billion – an average of $24 billion per year. And data for the first quarter of 2011 show the surplus is running at an even faster annual rate of $28 billion.

The performance of manufactured goods trade with trade agreement partners is in stark contrast to the $1.3 trillion three year cumulative manufactured goods deficit with countries that are not trade agreement partners.

Moreover, the new data show that manufactured goods exports to trade agreement partners are jumping ahead of countries that are not partners.  U.S. manufactured goods exports to trade agreement partners grew a phenomenal 23 percent in 2010, compared to the 18 percent increase in manufactured goods to the rest of the world.

The leading pace of trade agreement partners has continued into 2011.  So far this year, manufactured goods exports to trade agreement partners are up 18 percent over the same period of 2010, while manufactured goods exports to the rest of the world are up 15 percent.

The results speak for themselves.  It is time to help manufacturing in America by passing the three pending trade agreements that will open up important markets to U.S. exports and jobs.

Frank Vargo is vice president for international economic affairs, National Association of Manufacturers.

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