Original Press Release
Rising Oil Prices Obscure Improving Trade Pattern
Press release date: January 11, 2008
NAM Economist Says Exports Added More to GDP than the Housing Slump has Taken Away
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 11, 2008 - The crucial message in today's Commerce Department report on trade is that exports of manufactured goods continue to hold the economy afloat by increasing more rapidly than imports, said David Huether, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers.
"Rising exports are helping the economy weather the current housing downturn," Huether said. "In fact, exports have accounted for 40 percent of economic growth over the past year, adding more to the GDP than the housing slump has taken away."
Even though the monthly trade deficit increased to $63.1 billion in November - with exports rising a modest $0.6 billion while imports surged by $6 billion - this reflects the rising cost of oil. The dollar value of petroleum imports jumped 16 percent during the month.
"The spike in the cost of oil accounted for 80 percent of the November rise in imports," Huether said. "Our country's increasing dependence on overseas energy supplies is made clear by the fact that nearly half of the November trade deficit was in petroleum products. It's time for Congress to address this problem is by expanding access to domestic energy resources, a critical oversight in last year's energy legislation.
"Outside of the spike in petroleum prices 2007 was a good year on the trade front," he said. "In the coming year, it's important for lawmakers to expand exports and aid U.S. manufacturers by passing the three free trade agreements with Columbia, Panama and South Korea. This will lower tariff barriers currently imposed on U.S. goods overseas."
The National Association of Manufacturers is the nation's largest industrial trade association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NAM has 11 additional offices across the country. Visit the NAM's award-winning web site at www.nam.org for more information about manufacturing and the economy.
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