Original Press Release
NAM Sees Exports Still Rising While Imports Are Falling
Press release date: December 11, 2008
MANUFACTURERS GROUP SEES EXPORTS SLOWING AND IMPORTS FALLING
Free Trade Partners Are Bright Spot, Says Vargo
WASHINGTON, D.C., December 11, 2008 - While the latest trade data from the Commerce Department show weakening growth in exports of manufactured goods, the exports are still growing while imports of manufactured goods are actually declining, said Frank Vargo, Vice President for International Economic Affairs of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).
The Commerce Department's new trade data released today showed that U.S. manufactured goods exports in October 2008 were up only 1.2 percent over the same month a year ago, the second month of falling growth, and the slowest growth rate in five years. But U.S. manufactured goods imports in October actually fell 3.1 percent from a year ago.
"Both numbers reflect a weakening economy," Vargo said. "The slowdown in export growth is a marked change from the 11 percent rates of growth experienced for the first eight months of the year. A considerable amount of the change is due to the sharp decline in exports of commercial aircraft, for the second month in a row. But even without aircraft, the rest of U.S. exports of manufactured goods were up only 5 percent - still a sharp decline from the pattern earlier in the year.
"As has been the case all year, the brightest part of U.S. manufactured goods trade continued to be trade with U.S. free trade partners," Vargo said. "Through October, the U.S. manufactured goods trade balance with all free trade partners, including those in the North America Free Trade Agreement and the Central America Free Trade Agreement, was in surplus by $12.6 billion - an annual rate of surplus of $15 billion. The balance improved with every free trade partner except Israel, where the deficit increased slightly.
"It is remarkable how different the facts are from the widespread misperception about bilateral trade agreements fostered by trade critics," Vargo said. "Free trade agreements are widely believed to be a major factor in our trade deficit when in reality our trade with our bilateral trade agreement partners is in surplus."
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.