It is generally considered to be economically beneficial for the U.S to run a small trade deficit or even a trade surplus. If the domestic manufacturing sector can produce at a level where exports are matching or surpassing imports, the result will be job growth, rising wages and a higher standard of living for many Americans.
Of course, for this to happen, the domestic manufacturing sector must prove that it can compete with manufacturing companies all over the world, particularly in Asia. According to a recent analysis by the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity (MAPI) Foundation, export growth trends from the U.S. to Asia have been shifting downward since 2009, despite the economic recovery.
"Many Asian nations have pursued export-oriented growth, centered on the manufacturing sector, including an ever-larger trade surplus," MAPI senior advisor for international trade and finance Ernie Preeg said in his analysis. "In short, a mercantilist growth strategy. The United States, in near total contrast, has almost entirely ignored the resulting rapid growth in the trans-Pacific trade deficit in manufacturers, as well as lackluster export growth, with great loss to American manufacturing jobs."
Preeg added that between 2009 and 2013, U.S. exports to its 13 main Asian trading partners other than China rose by only 37 percent. Meanwhile, exports to the rest of the world increased by 52 percent.
In order to improve the trade deficit, policymakers need to adopt business-friendly policies that support the growth of manufacturing businesses that can export goods. This includes investing in the development of CNC machining services, which supply manufacturers with the custom parts that they may need to operate.