Transparency: What Is a Trade Deficit?
As governments around the world continue to react to the economic downturn, some people are warning against trade protectionism (i.e., imposing taxes and tariffs to make importing goods into a country more difficult). Indeed, the first draft of the stimulus bill had a "Buy American" provision that would have forced some companies receiving stimulus money to only buy U.S.-made goods. The reason for wanting increased protectionism is fear of a trade deficit, which is when a country imports more than it exports. Some economists argue that a trade deficit is detrimental to our economy, since we are paying to support jobs overseas, rather than at home. Other economists believe that the money sent overseas ends up coming back. Regardless of who is right, the trade deficit of the United States now stands at over $800 billion, so in our latest Transparency we took a look at the 10 countries with which the United States has the largest deficits.A collaboration between GOOD and Fogelson-LublinerSOURCES: TradeStats Express; U.S. Census Bureau CORRECTION: We've posted a corrected version of this piece. What was formerly labeled as nuclear reactor parts should have been labeled merely machinery-of which nuclear reactor parts are just one example. We regret the error. You can view the uncorrected piece here.