[Excerpt] The annual Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade report is prepared on the basis of more than 250 major industry/ commodity groups and subgroups identified by the U.S. International Trade Commission (the Commission). The report contains the analysis of international trade analysts of the Commission’s Office of Industries, who routinely monitor trade developments in all natural resource, agricultural, and manufacturing industries. The report is divided into three parts.
Part I presents an analysis of U.S. merchandise trade in 10 merchandise sectors and overall economic performance from 2007 to 2008. U.S. merchandise trade performance in 2008 is summarized and compared with such performance in 2007. Coverage of the individual merchandise sectors includes data showing U.S. export, import, and trade balance shifts by sectors, industry/commodity groups (and in some cases subgroups), and shifts in trade with U.S. trade partners. Major shifts in trade are highlighted and examined in greater detail in the rest of the report. Part I also examines U.S. imports from trade partners eligible for U.S. trade preference programs, most notably imports from beneficiaries of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the Andean Trade Preference Act, the Caribbean Basin Initiative, and the Generalized System of Preferences.
Part II examines the shifts in U.S. trade with each of the top five U.S. trade partners - Canada, China, the EU, Japan, and Mexico. Also examined are shifts in trade with Brazil, India, and Russia—U.S. trading partners that are growing in significance. Summary tables show the important shifts in U.S. bilateral trade and highlight leading changes in industry/commodity groups for each of the major trade partners.
Part III presents a general overview for each of the 10 merchandise sectors, identifying significant shifts in trade within each sector. Each sector chapter includes a statistical summary table of industry/commodity groups or subgroups, showing absolute and percent changes in bilateral trade in a year-to-year comparison of 2007 and 2008. In addition to the sectoral analyses, shifts in 20 specific industry/commodity groups are examined in greater detail. These industry/commodity groups were selected based on absolute and percentage shifts in trade; such shifts must have exceeded $1.0 billion and 50 percent.