The share of U.S. exports to the so- called BRIC countries may soon overtake sales to customers in either the European Union or Canada as emerging-market growth fuels demand for American products.
The CHART OF THE DAY shows U.S. goods and services sold to Brazil, Russia, India and China made up 13.1 percent of all exports in December, up from 4 percent at the start of 1993. Orders from the EU took a 16.4 percent share, down from 24.8 percent, as the region’s economy slumped last year. Canada accounted for 16.8 percent of the total, down from 19.5 percent.
“Europe is our most important market, but it’s not growing and it’s hard to see it being a real force for export growth going forward,” said Catherine Mann, an economics professor at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and former Federal Reserve economist. “I think Latin America and Russia in particular can get the growth that’s relevant for the U.S. to be a little bit more robust.”
China is now the world’s second-largest economy in dollar terms, while Brazil is seventh, Russia ninth and India 10th, according to IMF estimates for 2012 issued in October.
President Barack Obama said in his Feb. 12 State of the Union address that he’d negotiate a new trade agreement with the EU. His administration also is seeking a deal with 10 nations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership as part of a larger goal to boost U.S. manufacturing. The administration completed deals with South Korea, Panama and Colombia in 2011.
U.S. exports reached a record $2.2 trillion last year, according to Census Bureau figures dating back to 1960. Exports accounted for 14 percent of gross domestic product in 2012, also the strongest since at least 1960, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau.