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TUESDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Soaring trade deficit bad news for nation

Some experts pass off the all-time high trade deficit the nation reached this summer as the result of soaring energy prices.

They are right, technically, but oil prices are not the sole reason for this disturbing trend that has this year's deficit pegged at $866 billion.

It's popular to point a finger at the oil cartel but China is a major player in the U.S. imbalance of trade. China is posting the largest trade surpluses with the U.S.

An Economic Policy Institute study shows the impact of China trade on the U.S. over the 14-year period from 1989 to 2003. During the period, the U.S. lost 1.5 million jobs to Chinese competition. Most of those were low-wage jobs but since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, sophisticated electronics and communications equipment imports that require skilled labor are growing more quickly than low-value, labor-intensive products.

A high-level Bush administration delegation spent two unproductive days in Beijing recently trying to get China to stop manipulating the value of its currency that allows the Asian giant to roll up staggering trade surpluses with the U.S.

While the nation worries with the Iraq war, American trade policies are stealing our future.

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