The United States, the European Union, and the "Globalization" of World Trade: Allies or Adversaries?

By Thomas C. Fischer | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
An Economic Map of the World

The title of this chapter is admittedly pretentious. 1 There is not room here to give a thorough picture of the world's economic geography, nor would the average reader be interested. Furthermore, it would change as I wrote. However, it is necessary to describe briefly the landscape over which our trading drama is played out. I have been selective about the information shared, since it is merely to suggest the order of magnitude of the trends involved.


AMERICA'S TRADE PARTNERS AND BALANCE OF TRADE

Today's trading world is "open for business"; there is no doubt about that. From 1985 to 1994, U.S. exports and imports of goods and services more than doubled, from $382 billion to $833 billion (118%) in the case of goods and $484 billion to $954 billion in the case of services (97%). In that same period, the U.S. population increased only 7 percent.

However, U.S. investment abroad grew from $39 billion to $126 billion, while foreign direct investment in the U.S. grew from $141 billion to $315 billion. Most telling of all is the fact that U.S. gross domestic product grew at a rather slow 5.6 percent average year on year, while exports and imports grew at an average rate of 12.6 percent (over twice as fast) and exports alone averaged a 14.3 percent growth. 2 It is not difficult to see where the growth in America's economy lies today. While our domestic economy may be sluggish, foreign trade has been booming.

From 1990 to 1994 alone, U.S. exports to all countries grew from $394 billion to $513, billion, or 30 percent. In the same period, imports grew

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