Ag Exports: How Long The Bright Spot In U.S. Trade?

In his State of the Union address in January, President Obama listed as one of his administration’s goals the doubling of U.S. exports over five years and a National Export Initiative was created to support the effort.

In his State of the Union address in January, President Obama listed as one of his administration’s goals the doubling of U.S. exports over five years and a National Export Initiative was created to support the effort.

The intent of the initiative is that by the end of 2014 U.S. export of goods and services would rise from $1.57 trillion to $3.14 trillion, the largest increase ever.

In June, the U.S. trade deficit hit $49.9 billion, the largest since October 2008. In July, China’s trade surplus was $28.7 billion, the highest since January 2009.

In the September Commerce Department report, the trade deficit narrowed slightly, by 5.3%, but the deficit for January-September was still a whopping 40% higher than the same period in 2009.

The bright spot in an otherwise gloomy trade picture continues to be exports of agricultural products; the USDA’s November Agricultural Trade Outlook projects record high exports for fiscal 2011 — $126.5 billion, up $17.8 billion from 2010. Most of that increase in value is due to “sharply higher unit values.”

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