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Statement of Ambassador Ron Kirk on the March 2009 Trade Data

May 12, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C -  United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk issued the following statement on the March 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services, released earlier today by the U.S. Department of Commerce.  Today's report indicated for the first three months of 2009, U.S. exports of goods and services were 17% lower than in the same period of 2008.  This decline reflects recessionary conditions in U.S. export markets.  Imports declined even more, by over 26%, reflecting the current U.S. recession and lower prices paid for U.S. imports of petroleum.  The goods and services trade imbalance, on a balance-of-payments basis, was nearly halved in the first three months of this year, compared to last, with the deficit falling from 5% of GDP in the first quarter of 2008 to roughly 2.6% of GDP in this year's first three months.

"The March 2009 trade data reiterates the current challenges in our global economy, specifically the decline in world trade," Ambassador Kirk said.  "In order to ensure a speedy revival of the U.S. and global economies, it is imperative that we work with our trading partners to further open markets as well as working with members of Congress and stakeholders on new and pending free trade agreements in order to expand the free flow of trade."

"As President Obama has noted in his Trade Policy Agenda, the United States is committed to trade that is open, transparent, and creates opportunity at home and abroad.  USTR will continue our dialogue with Congress and with our trading partners to accomplish President Obama's agenda of making trade work for American families."