Trade: No Kidding, We're No. 1?

No Kidding, We're No. 1?

Despite rising trade tensions and unflattering comments about American work habits, the U.S. recaptured in 1991 the title as the world's largest exporter, beating out Germany and Japan. The U.S. had not been first since 1989. American businessmen sold $422 billion worth of goods to foreigners, a 7.5% jump from 1990. Germany slipped 4.5% to second place with $403 billion in exports, and Japan sold $315 billion abroad.

Staying in first place this year won't be easy. The Commerce Department said last week that exports in January fell for the third month in a row. While the trade deficit for the...