Economist Joseph Quinlan of Sea-Land Service Inc., a container-shipping company, notes that in bulk-volume terms, the U.S. is enjoying a growing trade surplus with Japan. Indeed, he estimates that U.S. ocean shipments to Japan will exceed those from Japan to the States by some 250,000 40-foot containers this year. So why is America still running a huge $40 billion trade deficit with Japan? U.S. exports "are generally skewed toward high-volume, low-value goods such as farm and forest products," explains Quinlan, "while Japan has been stressing lower-volume, high-value items."
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