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Posted at 5:45 PM ET, 02/11/2011

Who's buying more stuff from us in one graph

By Ezra Klein

The Commerce Department says export growth was 14.9 percent in 2010. That's pretty good, though it's pretty good in large part because 2009 was pretty bad. Here's who got our goods:


One way to read this graph is that we're in a lot better shape today because China is in a lot better shape than it was in 10 years. One of our "win the future" benchmarks is doubling exports in the next five years. That's pretty much impossible if China doesn't also keep winning the future and buying more stuff from us.

By Ezra Klein  | February 11, 2011; 5:45 PM ET
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I heard Portugal passed a law that if a portugese corporation left the country, they couldn't then sell back to Portugal.

We should.look at something similar

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 11, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

This is a much better piece on exports from this very paper

It shows why exports are a small insignificant sideshow, only 12% of GDP.

It also points out the following:

"In 2008, the United States exported more than $500 billion in commercial services. The largest segment of these -- $113 billion worth -- was business, professional and technical services, including management and consulting, research and development, and computer services. Our other service exports include travel and tourism (the services we sell to international tourists, from restaurant meals to hotel stays, count as exports, even though they are enjoyed on U.S. soil), financial services, and Hollywood films.

And when foreigners pay licensing fees or royalties to use intellectual property that has been patented or trademarked by an American individual or company, they're buying American exports, too. If, for example, a pharmaceutical company in Sweden wants to make a drug invented in New York, a U.S. company can license its intellectual property for a fee. Payments such as these amounted to $91.6 billion in exports in 2008."

So the liklihood that as the Commerce Department people put it:

"The most crucial aspect of growing exports is their relationship to jobs: The more we export, the more we produce. The more we produce, the more people get hired. Following methodology we previously published ("Exports Support American Jobs"), we estimated that the increase in exports from 2009 to 2010 helped support hundreds of thousands of additional jobs. Pretty good, eh?"

is factually nonsensical. (notwithstanding the very odd unprofessional tone of the whole article, written almost like a college freshman blog) This import growth occurred at a time of stubborn UNemployment in the US indicating that the most likely reason for the increase was the VALUE of the goods and services, not the quantity or amount which would cause additional hiring.

There's no breakdown, and on a Friday night I'm not looking through tables and chart after chart but I would suspect that the dramatic increase in the price of agricultural exports had more to do with the growth than anything else.

For instance this from the Commerce article:

"Export growth was uneven during 2010 (not necessarily surprising), and exports accelerated in Q4, ending the year on a good note."

Would coincide perfectly with the dramatic rise in the price of agricultural goods and services experienced in that time.

Hard to imagine that is the level of professional writing being turned in at the Commerce Department these days.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 11, 2011 10:24 PM | Report abuse

We need to stop relying on other countries to fix our problems.

We need to increase manufacturing and the only way to do that is to protect American labor and environmental standards. That means switching from a free trade paradigm to a fair trade paradigm.

China today is still erecting trade barriers to protect its own industries. So are many if not most of all our major trading partners.

The reason the US is instead destroying our protections is because conservative Republicans and Democrats are making money off of selling off US industries and jobs and even US infrastructure, and the US media is helping because they are owned by these same disloyal corporations.

We can create more jobs by building factories at home than by shipping goods overseas (though doing both would be nice).

Google "Ian Fletcher Manufacturing" for articles outlining how and why we are falling behind.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 13, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that the regression line is where it is; eyeballing the graph suggests a much steeper line.

Posted by: tomveiltomveil | February 14, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that the regression line is where it is; eyeballing the graph suggests a much steeper line.

Posted by: tomveiltomveil | February 14, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse


Seriously, you can eyeball a regression line based on a graph with weighted dots better than the software that has minimized the squared residuals . . . somebody get this guy a job in commerce and QUICK!

Posted by: orgbluspider | February 14, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

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