Good News on Trade - But Beware

With U.S. factories overburdened, imports may stay high

One of President Reagan's best applause lines last week was an economic figure with a lot of punch. "The news is very good," he said, provoking suspense among his audience of 9,000 people at Southeast Missouri State University. His bulletin: the U.S. trade deficit plunged to $9.5 billion during July, down from $13.2 billion in June and the smallest since December 1984. "When America goes into the market to compete," Reagan declared, "we play to win." The trade figures, which reflected a 0.7% boost in U.S. exports and an 8.9% drop in imports, prompted almost giddy reactions within the Administration. Only...

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