US 'well ahead' of pace needed to double exports, US trade rep says (video)

US Trade Representative Ron Kirk says the country is on track to double exports over a five-year period – a target laid out by President Obama.

Michael Bonfigli / The Christian Science Monitor
US Trade Representative Ron Kirk speaks during a Monitor-sponsored lunch for reporters in Washington Thursday.

US Trade Representative Ron Kirk finds the latest data on US trade released Thursday to be, on balance, encouraging.

True, the January numbers show the gap between what the US is able to sell overseas and what it imports has widened 15.1 percent since the previous month. Surging oil prices helped give the nation a $46.3 billion trade deficit – the largest in six months.

“If you look back historically, our trade deficit sort of widens the better our economy is doing. So that may not necessarily be a bad thing,” Kirk said at a Monitor-sponsored lunch for reporters.

He noted that January figures showed exports from the US to the rest of the world “up exponentially, a very strong level. They were a record $167 billion, which was $4 billion up from December’s level of 2010, but almost 16 percent higher than our exports were a year ago.”

According to Kirk, the numbers show the US on pace to meet President Obama’s goal of doubling exports – and thus boosting export-related jobs – over a five-year period. “That would require roughly 15 percent growth, and we are well ahead of that pace,” Kirk said.

The National Export Initiative Report, released in September 2010, said US exports would need to grow from $1.57 trillion in 2009 to $3.14 trillion by 2015 to meet Obama's goal of doubling over five years.

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