An increase in exports alone won't import solutions

Posted by TGarland on 09/19/2013

President Obama continued a week of touting his track record on the economy today during a meeting with his advisory council on international trade. The president highlighted his administration’s work in doubling exports by 2015.

Said President Obama:

We're now at a point where domestic production is actually starting to exceed imports -- across all these fronts, there are some very positive pieces of news.  But I tell you, one of the biggest bright spots in our economy has been exports; the fact that "Made in America" means something and has provided a boost to our domestic economy, and has reminded the world just how competitive we are.

We agree, Mr. President — “Made in America” means something. But increasing our exports won’t mean much if we don’t reduce our imports. And to another point, we must begin exporting high-value-added goods that reflect the U.S. as the industrial power it is.

ReMaking America editor Richard McCormack elaborates:

To an alarming extent, the United States imports high-value-added manufacturing goods and exports waste paper, scrap metal, raw materials, bulk food, forest products, animal feed and chemicals—products that are more typical of a developing country’s exports than those of a high-tech industrial power.

Increasing our exports is a move in the right direction, but it's only part of the equation. We need balance: We need to cut imports down to size, while we make sure to export more advanced goods.

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