The President has been in Asia this week, visiting India and Indonesia before heading to the meeting of the G-20 nations in Seoul, South Korea. These meetings highlight the importance of exports to the U.S. economy and the expansion of trade to the world economy.
Total U.S. exports of goods and services are on track to reach around $1.83 trillion this year. Exports are serving as one of our primary growth engines and are providing vitally needed jobs. While a weaker dollar has helped, the U.S. will need to rely on productivity and competitiveness along with strong growth abroad for sustainable export gains.
Protectionist risk has recently climbed, with countries acting to either drive their currencies lower or preventing them from rising. Just since June 27, 264 tariffs or quotas have been erected by the major industrialized countries and China. While nations might be expected to try to protect their domestic industries in times of high unemployment, the cumulative impact of such steps is highly deleterious to all in the end.
At the G-20 Seoul meetings, countries should pledge to restart the Doha Round of global talks that were begun in 2001 and later suspended. This should be a major priority as a free flow of international trade will help both emerging and developed countries.