While the Commerce Department's trade report today indicates an increase in the overall trade deficit, the National Association of Manufacturers said trade in manufactured goods continued to improve.
For the first two months of 2008 the overall deficit in goods and services was $121.3 billion, $5.7 billion larger than the $115.6 billion deficit for the comparable period of 2007. U.S. imports of petroleum were the biggest negative factor.
"However, the manufactured goods deficit for the first two months of 2008 continued its pace of sharp improvement declining by $10 billion," said Frank Vargo, NAM Vice President for International Economic Affairs. "The January-February manufactured goods deficit was $82.0 billion compared to a $92 billion deficit for the comparable period of 2007.
"Manufactured goods exports continue to soar. So far this year they are up a phenomenal 15 percent, while manufactured goods imports were up 5 percent.
"The result of these favorable trends is that the manufactured goods deficit so far this year is 12 percent lower than the comparable period of last year. And that is on top of the 5 percent improvement for all of last year."
Vargo attributed the continuing improvement to the competitive value of the dollar and the continued success of U.S. exporters selling to U.S. free trade partners.
"Free trade agreements, like the one with Colombia, spur U.S. exports," he said.