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  March 8th, 2016 | Written by

U.S. Trade Slumps Almost Five Percent in 2015

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  • US export increase to some markets was credited to sales of higher-value products such as aircraft and pharmaceuticals.
  • U.S. services exports increased in telecommunications, information services, financial services, and travel.
  • U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker: “We recognize that U.S. exporters faced challenges from slowing global growth.”

U.S. exports of goods and services totaled $2.23 trillion in 2015, a 4.8 percent decrease from 2014, according to the latest trade figures released by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Overall, though, the agency said, U.S. “increased goods exports to 58 international markets, establishing records with 20 global partners, including the UK, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam.”

The export increase to those partners was credited to sales of higher value products such as civilian aircraft and pharmaceuticals, it said.

U.S. services exports surged in 2015, growing by $5.9 billion from 2014, with particular increases seen in the telecommunications, computer and information services, financial service, and travel sectors. Each of those particular service sectors saw export increases of more than $1 billion for the year.

The data, said Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, “show that total U.S. services exports set a record for a sixth consecutive year, and goods exports to several major trading partners also eclipsed record levels.”

“We recognize that U.S. exporters faced challenges from slowing global growth,” she added in a caveat. “Despite these headwinds, the volume of ‘Made-in-America’ exports remained relatively unchanged, showing there is a continued demand for U.S. products.”

Pritzker took the release of the 2015 trade figures as an opportunity to tout the proposed, and controversial, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade agreements, which she called “ambitious, comprehensive, and transformational.”

The TPP would encompass 11 Pacific Rim countries that generate approximately 40 percent of global GDP, while the TTIP “would provide new opportunities for U.S. industry, as approximately one-fifth of all U.S. goods and services exports go to the European Union,” she said.