At the risk of belaboring the obvious, it might be useful to revisit the problem of U.S. foreign trade policies for one simple reason: Countries running large and systematic trade surpluses with the United States seem emboldened by divisive domestic controversies about attempts to stop decades-old trillion dollar transfers to the rest of the world.
How else to explain the shocking refusal, and a defiant foot-dragging, of major trade surplus nations to heed America's legitimate complaints with readiness to promptly correct their excessive, growing and unsustainable trade advantage?
I believe those countries are making a big mistake by reading too much into American policy disputes. They fail to see that Washington can no longer tolerate blatantly unfair trading practices, rising foreign debt and the drag on economic growth from its sharply declining net exports.
Since the early 1980s — when the U.S. began running increasingly large deficits on its trade of goods and services with the rest of the world — to the end of last year, America's net external trade losses came in at more than $11 trillion. In the process, the U.S. kept piling on foreign debt that reached an astounding $7.9 trillion at the end of the first quarter of this year.