The Wall Street Journal over the weekend reported that career employees in the departments were asked to segregate re-exports from total export data, presumably to widen the U.S. trade imbalance.
Re-exports are goods that are imported into a country to be transferred to a third country. By one definition, a re-export is a good that is unchanged before being transferred to a third country, while a broader definition of re-exports would include goods that undergo some material change, such as value-added service or finally assembly.
In any case, the report seems to underline the Trump administration’s goal of stoking growth of the U.S. manufacturing sector by highlighting how much more the United States imports than exports.
Deleting some or all of the re-export volume from the total export volume would greatly widen the U.S. trade deficit, perhaps providing a platform for the president and Congress to enact anti-import policies.
American Shipper’s sister publication, the Adam Smith Project, wrote Monday about the dangers of recalibrating trade statistics to suit policy initiatives.