Coalition for a Prosperous America CEO Michael Stumo told Inside U.S. Trade his organization supports the Trump administration's “shift towards consistently removing the inaccuracies caused by including pass-through goods -- or re-exports -- from the trade data.”
“While there can be inaccuracies in both calculations -- as in many government statistics -- the narrower Domestic Exports minus Imports for Consumption measure is more economically and conceptually meaningful and less misleading,” Stumo said.
“The government should continue striving for increased accuracy in its data collection efforts to sort pass-through/re-export goods out from the goods truly exported from, or imported to, the U.S.,” he added.
[Jenny Leonard| February 22, 2016 |Inside US Trade]
Trump administration officials this week defended the current methodologies applied to collect and present U.S. trade data and statistics, and dismissed as “completely inaccurate” a report by the Wall Street Journal that claimed U.S. agencies are considering changing those methodologies.
Last week's Wall Street Journal article stated that administration officials have asked the Commerce Department and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to change the way they calculate trade flows in a manner that would increase the trade deficit. That calculation would exclude re-exports -- goods that pass through the U.S. without “substantial transformation” -- from the total exports but those goods would be included in the U.S. imports data.
A senior Commerce department official on Feb. 21 clarified to Inside U.S. Trade that the discussion referred to in the news report was a “general” one that suggested additional data could be collected but that was not aimed at changing the methodologies the Bureau of Economic Analysis applies to date.