US Trade Highlights and Import Analysis

After reviewing key trade concepts and gathering current statistics on US trade, you will research what one of the following countries exports to the US. Circle your assigned country:

Canada Chile China Germany Japan Mexico S. Africa S. Arabia Indonesia

Part A: Review these terms fill in where needed:

balance of trade ­ difference between a countries exports of goods and imports of goods

trade surplus ­

trade deficit ­

Imports/exports are usually determined on account of national origin (location) NOT national ownership. Therefore, which of the following is a US export? US import?

a. tire made by British company in Ohio and sold in Brazil

b. toy made in China by a US company and sold in Japan

c. car made in Mexico by a German company and sold in the US

Part B:

Find answers to the questions below using the website of the US Office of Trade Statistics and Analysis (Department of Commerce). Go to Click on trade statistics. Then click on "Foreign Trade Highlights" section.

<Section-"US Aggregate Foreign Trade Data......">

1. How much did the US EXPORT in the most recent year?

2. How much did the US IMPORT in the most recent year?

3. Was there a trade deficit or surplus for that year? How much?

4. How long has the US had a trade deficit?

For questions #5-8, specify where your assigned country ranks.

5. To which five countries do the US EXPORT the most? How much for each?

6. From which five countries does the US IMPORT the most? How much for each?

7. With which five countries did the US have the greatest trade DEFICIT? How much for each?

8. What are the three largest EXPORTS and three largest IMPORTS of the US? How much for each?

<Section-"US Commodity Trade by World and Region">

11. Record how much is exported and imported from 5 major regions in the world: Europe, Caribbean Basin, Africa, Oceania and Asia.

12. Overall, what do you feel is positive and negative about the status of US trade? What else would you like to know?

<Section- "US Commodity Trade by Country">

13. Print US import statistics from assigned country. (Before printing, go to "Page Set-Up" and change alignment from standard to horizontal.)

14. Look up other statistics you would like to know from any section and record.

Part C

Your group has been assigned to investigate imports from ________ by the United States Department of Commerce. Your resources are your knowledge of current US trade status (from Part A), your import data sheet (printed out from Part A), and most importantly your collective brains.

Purpose of Investigation: The Secretary of Commerce, under directions from the US President, has asked that you carefully assess the importance of the top 20 imports from one of eight significant trading partners. The President, under pressure from groups of US citizens, had become concerned that we may be importing too much.

DISCUSS THE FOLLOWING WITH YOUR CLASS: Why should we import? What are reasons to limit imports? What imports do we benefit from the most? the least?

Your Task:


Facilitator: leads discussion for steps 1-4, designs poster

Recorder: records decisions from steps 1-4, labels poster

Artist: participates in discussions, creates art for poster

Presenter: participates in discussions and poster design, leads presentation

1. Carefully read the import chart. Discuss what each type of import is and how much of each is imported.

2. Determine whether theses imports into the US from your assigned country are capital intensive, land intensive or labor intensive (resource focus).

3. As a group, discuss and then decide which 3-6 imports are most important and 3-6 that are least important. You will recommend that we continue importing the top 3-6 and stop importing the bottom 3-6.

4. Discuss what might be good and bad about trading with your specific country. Consider the government policies of that country, geographic distance, what you may suspect about labor/environmental practices of that country.

5. Create a poster (as a TEACHING AID for your presentation to the Secretary of Commerce) that contains the following:

a. graphic representations of the 3 most important and 3 least important imports from your assigned country

-label each with name, how much in $ was imported in most recent year and place an X over the least important ones

b. label poster with name of country, resource focus of exports, reasons overall why we should or should not import from that country and your names on poster

*TEACHING AID should contain few words and be used as an outline for presentation

6. Prepare for presentation. Presenter will lead, but all should be prepared to explain everything and answer questions from the Secretary of Commerce.


You need to present the following to the Secretary of Commerce:

a. resource focus of country and why you chose that

b. reasons overall to support and not support trade with this country

c. arguments for specific products to continue importing

d. arguments for specific products to stop importing

e. anything else you would like to add to convince the Secretary to adopt your recommendations