WASHINGTON, D.C., September 11-The export of U.S. manufactured goods continues to rise, and the surplus with free trade partners continues to grow, says National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Vice President for International Economic Affairs Frank Vargo.

“July manufactured goods exports soared 22% over last July’s figures, putting manufactured goods exports so far this year at $669 billion, up 16% over last year,” says Vargo. “Manufactured goods imports so far this year are $933 billion, and the resulting $264 billion trade deficit is 15% lower than last year.

“U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners continue to be the shining part of the U.S. trade picture, with a rapidly-growing surplus,” says Vargo. “So far this year our manufactured goods trade surplus with NAFTA, CAFTA, and our other free trade partners is in surplus by $8.1 billion-that’s an annual rate of $14 billion, which is up from last month’s rate.” Vargo added that the trade balance improved with each of the U.S. FTA partners other than Israel.

“Many people have been led to believe we have a terrible trade position with our FTA partners and are unaware that our manufactured goods trade with them is in surplus,” says Vargo. “And that’s a shame, because if they knew, they would join the NAM in asking Congress to pass the remaining FTA’s so we could have our exports increase even more.

“America’s manufacturers are expanding their exports so rapidly that so far this year, manufactured goods exports are accounting for 75% of the total increase in America’s merchandise exports,” says Vargo. “Our export growth is offsetting the negative effects of the housing crunch and is helping keep our economy growing. The lesson is clear-free trade agreements are the solution, not the problem.”