The Obama administration will fall well short of its goal of doubling exports in five years. But it is hoping to secure a longer-run victory on the trade front with sweeping new agreements in the next two years.
A weak global economy deserves some of the blame for the failure to double exports in the five years through 2014, a target first outlined in President Barack Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address. Concerns about global growth also could determine whether the U.S. and its trading partners step up to strike deals, or step back in the face of domestic political concerns and worries about jobs in sensitive industries.
Mr. Obama met with heads of the Group of 20 leading economies over the weekend in Australia to discuss ways to juice growth, which has again disappointed in Europe and Japan. For the U.S., one goal of increasing exports is to lift the lackluster manufacturing sector and relieve the pressure on consumers to deliver economic growth.