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Weekly Trade Spotlight: The State of Trade

As 2010 begins, and Americans look forward to a new year, USTR is taking a look at how trade can help the economic recovery. This week's trade spotlight is on the current state of trade.

While the economic recession affected global trade in 2008 and early 2009, the United States is showing signs of recovery and economic growth.

However, a closer look at the history of trade illustrates a strong and growing global marketplace. Between 1980 and 2008, trade's share of global GDP rose from 21 percent to 32 percent. Over the same period, global trade grew 6.5 percent annually - nearly double overall global economic growth. In the United States, trade contributed to strong economic growth as more Americans opened shop in the global marketplace, creating jobs and generating prosperity across the country.

From 2008 to 2009, the International Monetary Fund estimates that global trade fell by 12 percent, a result of the global economic recession. In particular, the volume of U.S. international trade in goods and services declined sharply between spring 2008 and spring 2009, falling by 17 percent as the U.S. economy overall contracted.

As America works towards a full economic recovery, export-oriented growth can be a pillar of opportunity. In the third quarter of 2008, with signs of recovery on the horizon, U.S. exports jumped nearly 18 percent, contributing to the first positive quarter of economic growth since the recession began. In fact, exports accounted for over 80 percent of that positive growth.

For instance, Clipper Wind, headquartered in Carpinteria, California, will sell wind turbines, towers, blades and related equipment for use in the construction and operation of a wind farm in Oaxaca, Mexico. This sale, made possible by the Export-Import Bank, will keep 80 workers on payroll in a regional office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In Georgia, Suniva - a manufacturer of solar cells and modules - has recently expanded their sales in India, allowing the company to expand and build a plan in Michigan, creating 500 jobs in Saginaw.

Over the next two years, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development projects that U.S. exports will continue to increase as the global economy recovers.

Throughout 2010, USTR will nurture that growth by working to create more opportunities for Americans to succeed in the global marketplace - by further opening trade with China, by negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, by moving forward with the Doha round of negotiations, and so much more.