In his State of the Union address in January, President Obama listed as one of his administration’s goals the doubling of U.S. exports over five years and a National Export Initiative was created to support the effort.

The intent of the initiative is that by the end of 2014 U.S. export of goods and services would rise from $1.57 trillion to $3.14 trillion, the largest increase ever.

In June, the U.S. trade deficit hit $49.9 billion, the largest since October 2008. In July, China’s trade surplus was $28.7 billion, the highest since January 2009.

In the September Commerce Department report, the trade deficit narrowed slightly, by 5.3%, but the deficit for January-September was still a whopping 40% higher than the same period in 2009.

The bright spot in an otherwise gloomy trade picture continues to be exports of agricultural products; the USDA’s November Agricultural Trade Outlook projects record high exports for fiscal 2011 — $126.5 billion, up $17.8 billion from 2010. Most of that increase in value is due to “sharply higher unit values.”

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