Raymond J. Keating, chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council), issued the following statement on the July trade numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis:
"The July trade numbers tell a good-news-bad-news story. As for the good news, U.S. exports of goods and services were up in July versus June. That's a sign of hope in a tough economy. Some people might look at the decline in imports for July as a positive development, but it is not.
"Imports are not negatives for our economy. In fact, during good economic times, imports rise with the domestic economy, as both consumers and businesses purchase more goods and services, including imports. During down economies, imports fall. That has been painfully obvious over the past two years, as imports dropped by 16 percent between July 2008 and July 2010. The decline in July imports reflects a domestic economy that continues to struggle."
"On the policy front, it certainly would help if the Obama administration adopted an aggressive pro-free trade stance with our trading partners, pushing to advance agreements that reduce trade barriers and protect intellectual property."