Romney’s Foreign Policy Offensive, Ctd

The Republican nominee said yesterday, not for the first time, that the "president has not signed one new free-trade agreement in the past four years." Daniel Gross calls out Romney on his lie and defends Obama's trade record:

Over the last few years, trade has been a bright spot in the U.S. economy.

Since hitting a low of $124 billion in March 2009, the volume of monthly exports has risen rapidly—to a record $185 billion in June, a 49 percent increase. The U.S., the largest exporter in the world, has seen annual exports rise from $1.578 trillion in 2009 to $2.103 trillion in 2011. Through the first seven months of 2012, they’re up 5.5 percent over the first seven months of 2011. Imports have risen, too, from $1.96 trillion in 2009 to $2.663 trillion in 2011—a 36 percent increase. Through the first seven months of 2012, imports are up another 4.8 percent. Put another way, the volume of trade in which the U.S. engages has exploded in recent years—up 18 percent in 2010, up 14 percent in 2011, and up about 5 percent so far this year. The rise in trade has been good news for American exporters, but also for the large segments of the U.S. economy that thrive on trade—ports, railroads, truckers, delivery services, and the companies that insure, finance, and process trade.

The free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, are marginal contributors to this growth. But they are new free trade deals nonetheless. The Obama administration has had plenty of failings and shortcomings. But they do not include being hostile to trade.