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Short Takes: News from the International Trade Administration

Exports Show Growth in Third Quarter of 2007

In September 2007, U.S. exports of goods and services posted year-to-date growth of 11.8 percent to $1,194.4 billion, total exports of goods and services in September were $140.15 billion (see chart), while imports increased 4.4 percent to $1,721.9 billion.

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The largest export markets for U.S. goods this year were Canada ($183.2 billion through September 2007, an increase of 5.9 percent over the same period in 2006); Mexico ($101.9 billion, an increase of 2.1 percent); China ($46.8 billion, an increase of 16.6 percent); and Japan ($46.7 billion, an increase of 5.8 percent).

Exports comprised 12 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter of 2007. Five years ago, in 2002, exports accounted for 9.7 percent of GDP. Forty years ago, in 1967, exports accounted for 5.1 percent of GDP.

For up-to-date information about U.S. exports, look at the U.S. Export Fact Sheet, which is updated monthly on the Department of Commerce's Web site.



North American Steel Trade Committee Meets in Laredo

Government and steel industry officials from Canada, Mexico, and the United States, gathered in Laredo, Texas, November 15–16, 2007, for the latest meeting of the North American Steel Trade Committee (NASTC). NASTC is a government-industry collaboration that meets twice yearly. It provides a forum for cooperation on policy matters affecting the North American steel market and industry. The International Trade Administration is the lead U.S. government agency for the group, and works closely with the Office of the United States Trade Representative on NASTC matters.

Major topics of discussion at the November meeting included issues relating to shipping steel within North America and future plans for improving the recently launched North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Steel Trade Monitor, which is a public, online database of steel trade information covering the three NAFTA countries.

Steel industry representatives provided a report on the state of the steel industry. It focused on industry concerns regarding capacity expansion in China, government support to the steel industry, and the need for NAFTA governments to strictly enforce their trade remedy laws. The industry representatives also stressed their concerns regarding the economic impact of developments in climate change policy.

The North American governments highlighted their cooperation on trade policy matters, agreeing to continue working toward a trilateral policy exchange on trade remedies. In addition, they agreed to continue their work on identifying potential border-related impediments related to shipping steel within North America, in the context of the broader goals of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.

U.S. industry reaction to the meeting was positive. Mexico will host the next meeting, in the spring 2008.

The NAFTA Steel Trade Monitor is available on the Web. Information on the Import Administration’s steel monitoring programs is available on their Web site.


Review of Vietnamese Textile Imports Shows No Evidence of Dumping

On October 26, 2007, after reviewing the first six months of data from the monitoring program of apparel imports from Vietnam, the Import Administration (IA) announced that there was insufficient evidence to warrant initiating an antidumping investigation.

“After a fair and objective analysis of the data, [the Commerce Department] found insufficient evidence of dumping from Vietnam,” said David Spooner, assistant secretary for import administration. “The department will continue to monitor apparel imports from Vietnam until the end of the administration and [will] work with all stakeholders to ensure an open and transparent monitoring process.”

The monitoring program covers certain textile and apparel products from Vietnam. It began with Vietnam’s entry into the World Trade Organization in January 2007 and will continue until January 19, 2009. (See the January 2007 issue of International Trade Update.)

Under the terms of the program, the Commerce Department will complete a review every six months to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to initiate an antidumping investigation of any textile or apparel goods from Vietnam pursuant to section 732(a) of the Trade Act of 1930.

For this latest report, the department examined import data for five different textile product groups—trousers, shirts, underwear, swimwear, and sweaters—during the six-month period from January to July 2007. Of the 486 total 10-digit Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) lines for the five groups, 317 had no imports from Vietnam. Of the remaining 10-digit HTS lines, many even had rising unit values.

The Commerce Department will continue to post import data for those product groups on the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Import Monitoring Program’s Web site.