New World, New Policy: A Review of the Trade Deficit

President Trump announced a new executive order aimed at pushing forward his trade agenda. Targeting the US trade deficit, the order directs the Commerce Department and the US Trade Representative to lead an interagency investigation and produce a “comprehensive report” on the causes of the US trade deficit. They are to do so by looking at specific industries and trade policies by foreign countries that contribute to the continuing gap between US exports and imports.

According to the US Census data on trade, the US ran about a $500 billion net trade deficit in Goods and Services with the rest of the world in 2016. The US runs a larger deficit when looking only at Goods (such as manufactures, agriculture, etc.), at $750 billion, while the county runs a surplus of about $250 billion in Services (such as business services, finance, information technology, etc.). Broken down by country, the largest Goods deficits are with China (over $54 billion in the first two months of 2017) and Mexico, as well as Saudi Arabia (petroleum imports) and the European Union. In Services, it is noteworthy that the US runs sizable surpluses with all of these same countries. (Data from US Census) Continue reading

Weekly News – More Chinese markets for U.S. goods and services U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) mid-year review  updated U.S.-China trade and investment relations on July 27.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez and Deputy United States Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis co-chaired the meeting with Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Chao.  The two governments reviewed implementation of last year’s commitment; and the U.S. encourages China to open more markets for U.S. goods and services.

China is a critical destination for U.S. manufactured goods and services, as America’s third largest export market, following neighboring Canada and Mexico. Between 2009 and 2011, U.S. goods exports to China grew by nearly 50 percent.

The JCCT, established in 1983, is the main forum for addressing bilateral trade concerns and promoting commercial opportunities between the United States and China.

For more information: USTR, JCCT Mid-year Review

USTR Updates Additional FY 2011 Tariff-Rate Quota Allocations for Raw Cane Sugar

U.S. Trade Representative increases the quota of U.S. sugar imports. Click here to read the announcement.
Any thoughts why such an increase happens, why now, and why for those countries listed? Are there countries missing that should have been included? Let us know what you think in the comments.