As the US Department of Commerce issued trade data covering the first six months of this year,
industry lobbyists in Washington called for the US government to take action with respect to trade
with China, which has accounted for more than half of this year’s cumulative deficit of $220
billion. They also called on the presidential candidates to take a stand on China trade and tell
the American public what they intend to do about it.
Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition,
which includes textile manufacturers, said, “The fact that a single country now accounts for more
than half of the US trade deficit in manufactured goods should be sounding alarm bells for the
presidential candidates and the Congress.” He charged that China is “brazenly cheating” in its
efforts to seize its share of the US market by using currency manipulation, rebates of value-added
taxes and other subsidies.
U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab saw the trade data in a different light as she
pointed to what she called the “vitality of US exports in the global economy.” She said that goods
and services exports during the first seven months of this year were 18.3-percent higher that in
the same period of 2007.
“The United States remains a global leader in manufacturing, services and agriculture, and
our products and services are extremely competitive in the global marketplace,” Schwab said, adding
that “month after month the trade data has confirmed that our exports are thriving in markets
around the world.”
Schwab used the trade data to make a renewed appeal for Congress to approve the Colombia,
Panama and South Korean Free Trade Agreements that the administration has already negotiated. She
said that when these three agreements are approved and implemented, nearly all tariffs and other
trade barriers on American goods and services exports will be eliminated in those markets. She also
said increased trade with those countries will help grow the US economy and create higher-paying
jobs and expanded choices for consumers.
September 16, 2008