Farm products help trade deficit decline in August

Goods produced with farm equipment helped reduce the trade deficit.
Goods produced with farm equipment helped reduce the trade deficit.
As producers across the country guide their farm equipment across fields for the harvest, the goods they create seem to have helped the country's trade deficit.

The U.S. Commerce Department said recently that the country's trade deficit fell to $30.6 billion in August, down 3.6 percent when compared to July. Part of the reason for the fall in the deficit is an increase in the amount of exported farm products.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke noted that exports of goods and services were up for the fourth straight month. Exports increased by 0.2 percent in August and are up to $128.2 billion. Imports were down to $158.9 billion, a fall of 0.6 percent when compared to July.

"We're encouraged by the continued signs that the U.S. and other major economies are beginning to expand again, but we must remain steadfast in our efforts to boost U.S. exports and put Americans back to work," Locke noted.

Another factor cited in the decline of the trade deficit is a drop in the price of crude oil. The Commerce Department noted that the price of crude oil has fallen 48 percent since it reached a peak of $124.6 a barrel in July of 2008.

Recently, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met with his Japanese counterpart Hirotaka Akamatsu, who was recently appointed after an election. The two discussed issues affecting the countries' agricultural trade relations.