Export Troubles?

By at 6 October, 2018, 10:34 am


by Raymond J. Keating-

Are all of the tariffs, retaliation, threats and talk of a trade war beginning to register in the economic data?

Well, real GDP growth in the most recent quarter’s data was strong, thankfully. However, the latest trade data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis serves up a warning.

Specifically, U.S. exports have declined for three consecutive months now. After monthly exports hit $214.7 billion in May 2018, they’ve subsequently declined to $213.2 billion in June, $211.1 billion in July, and $209.4 billion in August.

Looking back, after exports declined from August 2014 to January 2016, they had grown steadily up to May of this year.

Meanwhile, it’s also worth noting that imports – the boogeymen of protectionists – have continued to increase in recent months. That’s not surprising given recent domestic growth.

Of course, the export trend warrants close watching. Trade is critical for small businesses, workers, consumers and U.S. economic growth. Our nation’s policymakers have smartly shifted tax and regulatory policy in a pro-growth direction since January 2017. They would be wise to so the same on trade – getting back to being a beacon of free trade for the world.


Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

Keating’s latest book published by SBE Council is titled Unleashing Small Business Through IP:  The Role of Intellectual Property in Driving Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Investment and it is available free on SBE Council’s website here.

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