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Our Nation's Surprising Technology Trade Deficit: A Wide Array of High-Tech Imports Overtake U.S. Exports

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Against the backdrop of slowing U.S. economic growth and rising economic uncertainty among most working Americans, we as a nation at least find comfort in the underlying resilience of an economy traditionally strong in creativity and innovation. After all, a skilled and innovative workforce has fueled American productivity and economic growth for decades, allowing the United States to remain at the forefront of global competition, especially since the mid-1990s.

Why should the first decade of the 21st century be any different?

Alas, it is. A snapshot of global trade statistics in advanced technology products since 2002 reveals that U.S. economic competitiveness in innovation may be slipping away. Surprisingly, the United States has recorded a deficit in high-technology products over the past five years. By the end of 2007, our nation’s high-tech deficit reached new record highs, measured either in absolute terms or as a share of the overall trade deficit.