WASHINGTON, D.C., April 10, 2008 --While the recent Commerce Department’s trade report indicates an increase in the overall trade deficit, the National Association of Manufacturers said trade in manufactured goods continued to improve.

For the first two months of 2008 the overall deficit in goods and services was $121.3 billion, $5.7 billion larger than the $115.6 billion deficit for the comparable period of 2007. U.S. imports of petroleum were the biggest negative factor.

“However, the manufactured goods deficit for the first two months of 2008 continued its pace of sharp improvement declining by $10 billion,” said Frank Vargo, NAM Vice President for International Economic Affairs. “The January-February manufactured goods deficit was $82.0 billion compared to a $92 billion deficit for the comparable period of 2007.

“Manufactured goods exports continue to soar,” said Vargo. “So far this year they are up a phenomenal 15%, while manufactured goods imports were up 5%.

“The result of these favorable trends is that the manufactured goods deficit so far this year is 12% lower than the comparable period of last year,” said Vargo. “And that is on top of the 5% improvement for all of last year.”

Vargo attributed the continuing improvement to the competitive value of the dollar and the continued success of U.S. exporters selling to U.S. free trade partners. “Free trade agreements, like the one with Colombia, spur U.S. exports,” he said.

The National Association of Manufacturers is the nation’s largest industrial trade association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NAM has 11 additional offices across the country. Visit the NAM’s award-winning web site at www.nam.org for more information about manufacturing and the economy.