This is my final blog, as I am retiring from the NAM as of 5pm today. I want to thank everyone for viewing the blog posts I have done over the years, and I hope you have found them useful.
I wanted to conclude by ending on good news, but also issuing a caution. The good news is that once again, for the month of April 2012, manufacturers continued to run a trade surplus with our Free Trade Agreement – FTA – partners (including Korea). The Commerce Department’s data showed a $14 billion surplus for the year to date (January-April) – that is an annual rate of $42 billion. This year marks the fifth year in a row of a manufactured goods surplus with FTA partners, cumulating to nearly $100 billion.
Our FTA partners account for a little under 13 percent of global GDP outside the United States. Yet they account for over half of our manufactured goods exports. But note that leaves about 87 percent of the global GDP outside the United States as countries not yet having an FTA with the United States – countries that maintain trade barriers to our exports that could disappear if we had FTAs with them. During the five-year period when we were running a manufactured goods surplus with FTA partners, with these other countries we ran an amazing $2.1 trillion cumulated manufactured goods deficit.
Since the United States has lower tariffs and trade barriers than just about every other country, the fact is that virtually every FTA we can negotiate is a plus for the United States – lowering the other country’s barriers much more than ours. (continue reading…)