Recent Plunge of Dollar May Signal New U.S. Trade Policy

THE JOURNAL RECORD, January 21, 1987 | Go to article overview

Recent Plunge of Dollar May Signal New U.S. Trade Policy


NEW YORK (AP) - Federal officials won't say so, but the recent plunge in the trade value of the dollar might represent a new U.S. trade policy.

Such a policy would be aimed at boosting U.S. exports and reducing imports, thus cutting into the massive trade deficits that have cost the nation millions of jobs and depressed many manufacturing operations.

The overt U.S. trade policy has been to negotiate with its trading partners to lower artificial barriers, such as tariffs, that reduce the competitiveness of U.S. exports. Japan especially has been a target.

But those attempts have been met with stiff resistance abroad, which in turn has angered Congress and raised the possibility of higher U.S. tariffs as a means of correcting the imbalance.

Further suggesting that the United States might have lost patience with its trading partners is the absence of any attempt to slow the dollar's decline, which the Federal Reserve could do by entering the market and buying dollars.

For years U.S. trade officials, the White House and the Federal Reserve have been saying the U.S. trade deficit, which this year is likely to reach $170 billion, is intolerable. Nevertheless, the deficits have persisted.

The damage has been mounting too. It is estimated that millions of jobs have been lost or never created because foreign goods, particularly from Japan and Europe, have replaced domestic products on store shelves.

At the same time, the billions of dollars sent abroad in payment of those goods represent actual or potential claims on American assets. …

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