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Yet More Meyerson Myths

Here’s a letter that I sent this morning to the Washington Post:

Harold Meyerson is confused about U.S. trade with China (“A marriage made in China,” Nov. 18).

As incontrovertible evidence that American exporters and producers are harmed by U.S.-China trade, he points to the fact that, since the 1998 agreement that normalized trade between the two countries, America’s trade deficit with China has grown.  Indeed it has grown, in absolute terms.

But U.S. imports from China as a proportion of U.S. exports to that country have fallen during this time – from 6.24 in 1999 to 4.72 in 2008.  Put differently, the real value of America’s exports to China has grown by more (323 percent) than has the real value of America’s imports from that country (220 percent).*

Donald J. Boudreaux

* I adjusted these figures for inflation with the calculator found here.