Press Releases

JEC Chairman Casey’s Statement on Trade Deficit for March 2012

May 10 2012

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement after today’s announcement from the U.S. Department of Commerce that the U.S. trade deficit in goods and services increased to $51.8 billion in March, up from $45.4 billion the previous month.

“Our nation’s trade deficit underscores that the U.S. economy remains vulnerable to unfair international trading practices and Congress must take action to protect our workers and manufacturers from currency manipulation.  Currency manipulation threatens our competitive position and harms American workers.  I urge my House colleagues to pass the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2011 to give American businesses a more even opportunity to compete.

“I also continue to urge the administration to do everything in its power to hold the Chinese government to its promises. As our economy continues to recover from the recession, we must even the international playing field to make sure our businesses and workforce have the support they need to expand and compete across the globe.”

In the days leading up to the recently concluded U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, China promised some action on its undervalued currency. China announced it would widen the band in which the renminbi (RMB) is allowed to fluctuate, a possible signal of diminishing intervention in the currency market.  If implemented, this would be a welcome move.

However, we have seen China backtrack on these types of announcements before. China needs to allow its currency to appreciate.   Such a move would greatly help correct our current imbalanced trade relationship and help U.S. exporters trying to sell into China. This would lead to more jobs in the U.S., particularly in manufacturing.  For China, a stronger RMB will limit inflation and allow Chinese citizens to consume more – both stated goals of the Chinese government.

Today, the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the U.S. international trade deficit rose by $6.4 billion to $51.8 billion in March. The $5.3 billion increase in exports of goods and services was more than offset by the $11.7 billion rise in goods and services imports. In March, the U.S. trade deficit in internationally-traded goods increased by $6.5 billion while the trade surplus in services rose by only $0.1 billion. Following a February decline, the bilateral trade deficit in goods between the U.S. and China increased by $2.3 billion to $21.7 billion in March.

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