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For Immediate Release:July 23, 2008
Contact: Public Affairs  (202) 482-4883

U.S. Manufacturing Exports Swing from Deficit to Surplus with Free Trade Agreement Countries

Washington—U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez announced new U.S. Commerce Department data showing that the United States is running a trade surplus in manufactured exports with our 14 free trade agreement (FTA) partners. In the first five months of 2008, the trade balance in manufactured goods rose to a $2.7 billion surplus with our FTA partners from a $12.3 billion deficit during the same period last year. The U.S. manufactured goods trade balance improved 122 percent with our FTA partners, but only six percent with non-FTA partners in the first five months of 2008.

“These figures show that our FTAs are succeeding and that Americans benefit from open markets,” Gutierrez said. Our trade balance with FTA partners has swung from a deficit to a surplus proving that open markets are a key ingredient to the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing and the health of the U.S. economy. Last year, manufacturing accounted for 62 percent of America’s record $1.6 trillion exports in goods and services.”

This improvement in the trade balance is due to the increasing competitiveness of U.S. manufactured goods. Since 2002, FTAs have helped U.S. manufactured exports grow steadily and at a faster rate than imports — 63 percent compared to only 42 percent, respectively, year-to-date through May 2008 (compared to same period of 2002).

“Americans need more trade, not less,” Gutierrez said. “It’s clear FTAs make us more competitive and contribute to the health of the U.S. economy. Now it’s time for Congress to approve the pending FTAs with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. U.S. manufactured exports and local economies depend on free markets for jobs and prosperity.”

These calculations are based on the monthly data released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis in the FT900: U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services, as revised annually. The year-to-date figures are for the first five months (January-May) of 2008. For this release, manufacturing products are defined as all products that fall under NAICS classifications 31-33. This data will differ from other sources that use a manufacturing definition based on an SITC standard.