The Global Trade Chart That Should Give Protectionists Pause
The U.S. runs a deficit, but this interactive graphic shows that’s not the whole story.
Populist voices on the left and right have found this much to agree on in this campaign season—they think freer trade has been a disaster for American workers and needs to be rolled back.
The reality, unsurprisingly, is more nuanced. The U.S. does run a trade deficit, but that doesn’t mean we’re “losing” to other countries. Imports not only create jobs here, they’re a boon to consumers who enjoy cheaper prices. And global trade—both exports and imports—is deeply ingrained in the U.S. economy, accounting for 28% of GDP today, up from 9% in 1960.
Even if we wanted to take a more isolationist stance, as the below graphic demonstrates, we’re so deeply enmeshed in the global economy, simply pulling up stakes isn’t an option.
Hover over the graphic below to see how much the U.S. trades with countries all over the world.
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce