Forex Trading Systems – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Why you need Forex trading systems and strategies.
Learning how to trade profitably requires you to learn and master a few Forex trading systems. The key to trading is becoming a master of a few trading strategies not the jack of all. Forex trading systems are important as they will provide you with structure, a set of rules and a plan to follow. This article will discuss some of the different types of Forex trading strategies that are currently in the Forex market and teach you how to identify what makes the best FX trading system.

Indicator Driven Trading Systems.
Approach with extreme caution, indicator driven strategies are often designed by someone who notices that this set up is currently working right now. The problem is just that, it’s working for that present moment and often very little analysis has been done to understand the longevity of this Forex trading system.

The biggest issue with Indicator based Forex trading systems is that it uses indicators to generate a trading signal as opposed to pure price action. Indicators are lagging and therefore tend to give poorer and late signals than pure price action which is most up to date information on the chart.

However, as this trading system often looks exciting and ‘sexy’ on the charts many amateur traders find this trading strategy far too tempting.

Some guru’s latest flash in the pan trading strategy.
A trading system which comes with the guaranteed promise that you will ‘never lose again and will turn your computer into an automated cash machine’; unfortunately the world is filled with these so called ‘guru’s’ and their millionaire making Forex trading systems. Experienced traders know that losing trades is part of the game, you will always have losers and winner’s you must be prepared to take loses. Professional traders understand no Forex trading strategy is ever guaranteed, however with trading results and back tested performance figures they focus on the overall picture of success. The best way to avoid falling victim to these scams when finding a Forex training company is to have proof of their strategies live trading results. This way you will understand the realistic and honest performance of their strategies.

Trading systems that actually work…

Harmonic trading patterns.
Harmonic trading is the art of recognizing particular price patterns in line with Fibonacci extensions and retracements to calculate turning points in the financial markets. Confused yet? Harmonic trading is complex and requires a lot of time and practice to master, yet it could be one of the best trading systems because it offers high reward vs risk ratios and it is very versatile. It can be traded on any market on any timeframe.

If you are just starting off learning how to trade the market your initial focus should not be on harmonic trading patterns as they will take a lot of time and focus to understand. However for more experienced traders looking for a new trading system to add under their belt, harmonic trading is worth a look.

Old school technical analysis trading strategies.
This particular trading system is well known and well traded throughout the Forex community for many years. Technical analysis includes; ascending triangles, consolidation breakouts plus head & shoulders patterns, flag patterns to name a few. The benefit in learning these trading systems is that they do work and they have decades of data to prove it.

The downside to these systems is many newer traders find this approach to trading dull and perceive it as old fashioned. It lacks the glamor and excitement of indicator driven system. It’s not busy and flashy and unfortunately, newbie traders often mistake complexity as a sign of better performance and higher probability. However the reason old school technical analysis is still around is because it works, and plenty of experienced profitable traders use it in their own trading style. Other than lacking the excitement, old school technical analysis trading systems tends to have a lower success rate, which a lot of people are unwilling or unable to deal with. A lower success rate does mean the winning trades are typically very large, which makes the system profitable and worth learning as it gives you a solid foundation in learning the Forex markets.

Price action trading strategies.
Now what you have been waiting for, I reveal the best Forex trading system you can learn is price action. Price action trading is the reading of the raw price action on a chart. The price is the most up to date information on the chart, so it will give you the most current situation when reading the chart. Price action as a Forex trading system is an incredibly simple method that is effective and functional as it works in both trending and ranging markets, with and against the trend. Learning price action can simplify your Forex trading and dramatically improve your results. With price action a trader has the advantage to trade any market on any timeframe, as price action setups are effective in all market conditions.

Price action trading systems to learn:

1. Pin Bar Setup.

The pin bar price action Forex trading strategy is a reversal system. It is designed to trade tops and bottoms of markets and can also be used in trend continuation by buying dips in upward trends, and selling peaks in downtrends.

2. Inside Bar Setup

Inside bars can be used very effectively when trading Forex. They are primarily used when trading strong trending markets as a trend continuation strategy.

3. Engulfing Bar Setup

Engulfing bars are great for trend reversals. They are rare, but a very strong price action reversal signal. Can be used when trading trends, but typically found at end of trend reversals.

4. Fakey Setup

The fakey setup is a trend based trading approach that watches for a false breakout of an inside bar formation. This setup can usually be found at levels of support and resistance, very similar to the pin bar setup. Fakey’s are used to buy dips in upward trend, and sell peaks in downtrend.

Price Action Trading Systems… Your First Step.
Do not get overwhelmed focus on a few price action trading strategies only. Trade these setups on a few different currency pairs. Grow your confidence. Become comfortable with identifying setups and really understand how to enter the trade step by step. Start with one price action Forex trading system and only when you are completely comfortable add another trading system.

It’s fair to say that so long as you stick to something like price action trading or old school technical analysis you can’t go far wrong. Be warned about all those different indicator systems out there in the forums, and make sure that you get your Forex trading education from a company with live trading results, and experienced traders.

One of the biggest challenges inexperienced traders create is chopping and changing between different trading strategies. Choose a Forex trading system and strategy that matches your personality. It may take a couple of attempts, but once you find one that you like and can become consistent trading it, stick with it.

Trade, Jobs and Growth: Facts Before Folly


Our new President rails against it, unions denigrate it, and unemployed blame it. And not without reason. On trade, jobs and economic growth, the US has performed less than stellar.

Let’s look at the data, but then drill down a bit to the nuances. Undirected bluster to reduce trade deficits and grow jobs will likely stumble on those nuances. Rather, an appreciation of economic intricacies must go hand-in-hand with bold action.

So let’s dive in.

The US Performance – Trade, Jobs and Growth

For authenticity, we turn to (by all appearances) unbiased and authoritative sources. For trade balances, we use the ITC, International Trade Commission, in Switzerland; for US employment, we use the US BLS, Bureau of Labor Statistics; and for overall economic data across countries we drawn on the World Bank.

Per the ITC, the United State amassed a merchandise trade deficit of $802 billion in 2015, the largest such deficit of any country. This deficit exceeds the sum of the deficits for the next 18 countries. The deficit does not represent an aberration; the US merchandise trade deficit averaged $780 billion over the last 5 years, and we have run a deficit for all the last 15 years.

The merchandise trade deficit hits key sectors. In 2015, consumer electronics ran a deficit of $167 billion; apparel $115 billion; appliances and furniture $74 billion; and autos $153 billion. Some of these deficits have increased noticeably since 2001: Consumer electronics up 427%, furniture and appliances up 311%. In terms of imports to exports, apparel imports run 10 times exports, consumer electronics 3 times; furniture and appliances 4 times.

Autos has a small silver lining, the deficit up a relatively moderate 56% in 15 years, about equal to inflation plus growth. Imports exceed exports by a disturbing but, in relative terms, modest 2.3 times.

On jobs, the BLS reports a loss of 5.4 million US manufacturing jobs from 1990 to 2015, a 30% drop. No other major employment category lost jobs. Four states, in the “Belt” region, dropped 1.3 million jobs collectively.

The US economy has only stumbled forward. Real growth for the past 25 years has averaged only just above two percent. Income and wealth gains in that period have landed mostly in the upper income groups, leaving the larger swath of America feeling stagnant and anguished.

The data paint a distressing picture: the US economy, beset by persistent trade deficits, hemorrhages manufacturing jobs and flounders in low growth. This picture points – at least at first look – to one element of the solution. Fight back against the flood of imports.

The Added Perspectives – Unfortunate Complexity

Unfortunately, economics rarely succumbs to simple explanations; complex interactions often underlie the dynamics.

So let’s take some added perspectives.

While the US amasses the largest merchandise trade deficit, that deficit does not rank the largest as a percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP.) Our country hits about 4.5% on that basis. The United Kingdom hits a 5.7% merchandise trade deficit as a percent of GDP; India a 6.1%, Hong Kong a 15% and United Arab Emirates an 18%. India has grown over 6% per year on average over the last quarter century, and Hong Kong and UAE a bit better than 4%. Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Ethiopia, Pakistan, in all about 50 countries run merchandise trade deficits as a group averaging 9% of GDP, but grow 3.5% a year or better.

Note the term “merchandise” trade deficit. Merchandise involves tangible goods – autos, Smartphones, apparel, steel. Services – legal, financial, copyright, patent, computing – represent a different group of goods, intangible, i.e. hard to hold or touch. The US achieves here a trade surplus, $220 billion, the largest of any country, a notable partial offset to the merchandise trade deficit.

The trade deficit also masks the gross dollar value of trade. The trade balance equals exports minus imports. Certainly imports represent goods not produced in a country, and to some extent lost employment. On the other hand, exports represent the dollar value of what must be produced or offered, and thus employment which occurs. In exports, the US ranks first in services and second in merchandise, with a combined export value of $2.25 trillion per year.

Now, we seek here not to prove our trade deficit benevolent, or without adverse impact. But the data do temper our perspective.

First, with India as one example, we see that trade deficits do not inherently restrict growth. Countries with deficits on a GDP basis larger than the US have grown faster than the US. And further below, we will see examples of countries with trade surpluses, but which did not grow rapidly, again tempering a conclusion that growth depends directly on trade balances.

Second, given the importance of exports to US employment, we do not want action to reduce our trade deficit to secondarily restrict or hamper exports. This applies most critically where imports exceed exports by smaller margins; efforts here to reduce a trade deficit, and garner jobs, could trigger greater job losses in exports.

Job Loss Nuances

As note earlier, manufacturing has endured significant job losses over the last quarter century, a 30% reduction, 5.4 million jobs lost. Key industries took even greater losses, on a proportional basis. Apparel lost 1.3 million jobs or 77% of its US job base; electronics employment dropped 540 thousand or 47%, and paper lost 270 thousand jobs, or 42%.

A state-by-state look, though, reveals some twists. While the manufacturing belt receives attention, no individual state in that belt – Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan – suffered the greatest manufacturing loss for a state. Rather, California lost more manufacturing jobs than any state, 673 thousand. And on a proportional basis, North Carolina, at a manufacturing loss equal to 8.6% of its total job base, lost a greater percent than any of the five belt states.

Why then do California and North Carolina not generally arise in discussions of manufacturing decline? Possibly due to their generating large numbers of new jobs.

The five belts states under discussion lost 1.41 million manufacturing jobs in the last quarter century. During that period, those five states offset those loses and grew the job base 2.7 million new jobs, a strong response.

Similarly, four non-belt states – California and North Carolina, mentioned above, plus Virginia and Tennessee – lost 1.35 million manufacturing jobs. Those states, however, offset those loses and generated a net of 6.2 million new jobs.

The belt states thus grew 1.9 jobs per manufacturing job lost, while the four states grew 4.6 jobs per manufacturing job lost.

Other states mimic this disparity. New York and New Jersey ran a job growth to manufacturing job lost ratio of under two (1.3 and 2.0 respectively), Rhode Island less than one (at .57), and Massachusetts just over two (at 2.2). Overall, the 8 states of the Northeast (New England plus New York and New Jersey) lost 1.3 million manufacturing jobs, equal to 6.5% of the job base, but grew the job base by only 1.7 jobs per manufacturing job loss.

In contrast, seven states that possess heavy manufacturing employment, and losses, but lie outside the belt, the Northeast, and the CA/VA/TN/NC group, grew 4.6 jobs per manufacturing job lost. These seven are Maryland, Georgia, South Carolina. Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, and Arizona.

For the four groups, here are the job growth percentages, over the last quarter century.

Northeast                        12.6%                      8 States

Belt 12.3% 5 States

VA/TN/CA/NC 30.2% 4 States

Group of Seven 27.3% 7 States

Imports definitely triggered manufacturing job loss. But states in the last two groups rebounded more strongly. In a particularly good recovery, North Carolina, once heavy in furniture and apparel, lost 44% of its manufacturing jobs, but did not see stagnation of its economic base.

Why? Manufacturing loss due to imports stands as only one determinant of overall job growth. Other factors – climate, taxes, cost of living, unionization (or lack of), congestion (or lack of), government policies, educational base, population trends – impact job creation equally or more. North Carolina for example, features universities and research centers; moderately sized and relatively uncongested cities (Charlotte and Raleigh); low unionization; temperate winters; and so on.

This does not downplay the hardships that individuals, families and communities experience from manufacturing job loss. And job growth in other sectors does not offer a direct cure for manufacturing declines. The higher paying jobs in other sectors often require college or advanced degrees, something those losing a manufacturing job may not possess.

A note of caution though. Even absent trade, technology and automation drive growing requirements for college education. Manufacturing workers directly build less; rather workers control machines, complex computer-controlled machines, which build. Operating those machines, designing those machines, programming those machines, that type work increasingly involves advanced degrees.

Think historically. Automation reduced farm employment, and all but made extinct elevator operators, ice deliverers and telephone switchboard cord workers. Similarly, automation today has and will continue to impact manufacturing employment.

Trade Deficits and National Growth

Let’s return now to country-to-country comparisons, to search for added insights. Earlier we saw that countries with trade deficits had achieved strong economic growth. So a deficit does not inherently create economic stagnation.

Let’s now look at the flip side – do trade surpluses trigger growth. China certainly has achieved both. They have grown, on average, an amazing 9-10% per year for the last quarter century, and have amazed a trade surplus with the world of $325 billion per year over the last five years.

Other countries have achieved the same dual success, of trade surpluses and strong growth. Korea, Ireland, Singapore, Nigeria, are among a list of ten major countries with consistent trade surpluses and strong growth.

A wider scan though, across approximately 140 countries for which the World Bank/ITC report data on both GDP growth and trade, shows more complexity. In particular, another group of 18 countries achieved trade surpluses, but did not growth appreciably more than the US.

Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and Brazil, among others, populate this group. Overall, this group attains trade surpluses at five percent of GDP, but has grown on average only about 1.5% in real terms over the last quarter century. This growth underperforms the US.

In a further look, three countries with apparel imports to the US – Vietnam, Pakistan and Bangladesh – have extraordinary growth, but have trade deficits. Overall, across the 140 countries, no detectable relation exists between trade surpluses/deficits and growth.


What does show a relation to growth, in the World Bank data? Per capita GDP, in a counter intuitive way. Countries with lower per capital GDP have grown faster, while those with the highest per capita have averaged a meager 2% growth over the last 15-25 years.

This reverse relation, higher per capita aligned with lower growth, highlights a major, if not the major, determinant of growth, productivity. GDP represents that total of what a country produces. And for a given worker base, GDP can grow only if the workers produce more per worker, i.e. improve productivity.

Now compare the opportunity to apply efficiency gains in low per capita verses high per capita countries. Though not universally true, in many parts of low per capita countries good opportunities exist due to the limited adoption of the best available means. Efficiency gains in farming, and in manufacturing, and in distribution, basically in almost all facets of the economy, can be achieved by adopting efficiency measures already available from and proven by other countries.

Not so in high per capita countries. Such countries, in achieving high per capita GDP, their high output per worker, have likely already deployed available efficiency techniques. Efficiency gains cannot simply be pulled “off-the-shelf” or brought in from other countries or firms. Rather such gains must arise from, often complex and pain-taking, research, trial and analysis.

Productivity alone certainly does not determine economic growth. Population trends, labor force participation, education infrastructure, capacity utilization, these and other items also enable or retard economic growth. But productivity provides the base upon which those other factors build.

North America

We should study a region receiving strong attention, the North American market. Much discussion has been directed at the trade in that market and the impact of trade agreements.

In the last 15 years, rather than increase, the US combined trade deficit with Mexico and Canada has decreased $5 billion per year, from $87 billion to $82 billion. This decline consists of a $35 billion decrease in the deficit with Canada and a $30 billion increase with Mexico. At a product level, the US trade deficit with Mexico/Canada combined increased for autos ($23 billion a year increase), oil ($11 billion), and electronics ($5 billion); and decreased for chemicals ($14 Billion), aircraft/ships/trains ($7 billion) and apparel ($6 billion). The deficit also decreased for paper products, lumber, and metals, and increased for furniture, agriculture and pharmaceuticals.

The $5 billion shift in the deficit masks the rather enormous growth on a gross basis of trade. Imports to the US from Canada and Mexico increased $245 billion between 2001 and 2015, and exports increased $251 billion in the same period. Note the balance between the increases, with export growth matching, actually exceeding, import growth. This speaks of a relative balance in employment impacts.

For example, North American trade can involve US sending medical equipment to Mexico, equipment not available from a Mexican producer, and Mexico sending agricultural goods to the US, goods out of season for US farms. Both countries benefit with added products, and both benefit from added employment. Even if imports from Mexico substitute for goods that could have been produced in the US (i.e. the imports hurt American workers), the relative balance of import/export growth in North America means this substitution offsets.

That relative balance is important. We will see later a lack of such balance with China.

North American trade also builds efficient supply chains. We can picture that US efficiently produced chemicals feed into low cost production of auto parts in Mexico, while American engineers in Michigan design cars which will use engines from Canada and plastic parts from Mexico for assembly in Ohio. Certainly we would like the parts made in Mexico to rather be made in America, and same with the engines, but the US competes with the world in the auto market. Absent efficient supply chains, US autos will become increasingly non-competitive in the world market. China has yet to significantly penetrate the American auto market, and efficient North American supply chains will provide a defense against the Chinese juggernaut.

Trade also lowers prices. While lower prices lack the visceral impact of a closing plant, we can picture that American sub-compact cars, made lower in cost through production across North America, remaining competitive with imports. Thus a US college graduate buys a Ford, Dodge, or Chevy, rather than a Korean import.

Further, North American trade gives American export producers greater economies of scale. So a Canadian or Mexican outdoor enthusiast buys an American made high-tech hiking boot, rather than one made in Asia because the American producer gained efficiencies by selling into the larger North American market.

What do we make of this? On balance, neutral. Some pluses, some minuses. Mexico has taken manufacturing jobs, but exports to Mexico offer job opportunities. We compete with Mexican and Canadian products, but American producers sell to a larger market. We run a deficit, but the deficit has stabilized. Imports have risen, but exports more so. And all involved obtain lower prices and integrated supply chains.

Can trade agreements in North America be improved? Certainly. Can American companies bring a finer pencil to cost reduction to keep manufacturing in America? Certainly. Should harsh publicity and government review of plant closings bring counter pressure on corporations driven by Wall Street interests? Certainly.

But on balance North American trade impacts America in a neutral way.

But this pertains to North America. Next, Asian Pacific. The impact reigns not so neutral, at least with respect to one country.

Asian Pacific

One country, China.

China dominates.

China dominates the trade dollars with the US, with the whole word for that matter.

China ranks as the number one merchandise export country, with $2.2 billion in 2015. Since 2001, China has grown its exports by 750%. China has the highest trade surplus of any country, with an average surplus of $325 billion over the last five years, and $600 billion in 2015 as dropping oil prices trimmed the value of Chinese oil imports.

As for the US, China accumulated a 2015 trade surplus of $386 billion. That Chinese trade surplus with the US (aka US trade deficit with China) represents 48% of the total US merchandise trade deficit for that year. Japan, which in 2001 garnered 16% of the US trade deficit, dropped to 9% by 2015. Mexico hit 7.0% of our deficit in 2001, and despite rhetoric took only 7.6% in 2015. Canada dropped from 12.6% to 2.6%. The Chinese portion of our trade deficit dwarfs that of any other country.

Between 2001 and 2015 the US deficit with China increased by $296 billion. That represents a mind-numbing 84% of the total increase in the US deficit in that period. That means the remaining 16% was spread across our almost 225 other trading partners.

A key feature of trade involves the ratio of imports to exports. We discussed that in the North American trade section. If that ratio, of imports to exports, stands near one, i.e. our imports do not radically exceed exports, then the trade export flow to that country nominally generates employment in the US offsetting lost employment opportunity of the imports. With Canada we run 1.1, and Mexico 1.25 (and 0.7 and 1.22 on the increase since 2001), so that as explained above, our trade flows with those countries balance, and the employment impacts stays approximately neutral.

China does not fit that mold. We run an import to exports ratio with China of 4.3, or $4.30 of imports to every $1.00 of exports. Thus Chinese imports reduce employment potential with no offsetting employment generated by exports to China.

Removal of China from our trade statistics further highlights the singular impact of China. Removing China, and adding in services, the US exported $2.1 trillion in products and services in 2015, against imports of $2.3 trillion. The ratio of imports to exports, on this basis, drops to a favorable 1.1, and the $200 billion deficit runs at only a bit bigger than 1% of GDP. With China removed, the countries with which the US runs the largest trade deficits are Germany and Japan. We should be able to compete with those two developed countries, without concern about low wage labor.

We can compare the Chinese trade dominance in the US with the lack of dominance of other Asian and Asian Pacific countries. India provides a critical example, as it parallels China as a large developing rapidly growing Asian country. China, as noted before, achieved a world trade surplus of $325 billion per year over five years; India a trade deficit of $78 billion a year (5 year average). With respect to the US, India garnered a 2015 surplus of $25 billion, a positive, but quite small compared to $386 billion mentioned above of China.

A wider look across Asia shows the same. Combined, the 13 major Asian countries outside China and India (for example Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Pakistan) run a world trade deficit, as a last five year average, of $45 billion. The combined GDP of these countries equals China’s, but the US trade deficit with the 13 amounts to about a third of China’s, and importantly the increase in the deficit since 2001 hits a modest $29 billion, one-tenth China’s increase. The key US import/export ratio with the 15 stands at 1.6, not outstanding, but less than the 4.3 with China.

China then has unmistakably outpaced it Asian neighbors in trade success, both with the world and with the US.

While many factors contributed to Chinese success, unique trade deals do not appear among them. True China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001, but essentially every major country belongs. China just managed trade and economic growth better. Other countries, India, Korea and Indonesia mentioned above, performed much less spectacularly, facing nominally the same opportunities and constraints as China.

China’s dominance centers on four key areas: electronics, furniture/appliance, apparel and consumer products. (Call these the “four key groups”). In these four key groups they ran a trade surplus with the world of over $750 billion (2015 year). Astounding.

Can the US, or any non-Asian country take over Chinese dominance in the four key groups? The train has likely left the station for now. China has created an intricate supply chain, an extensive distribution infrastructure, and a large manufacturing base, in the four key areas. These strengths are buttressed by their possession of a large, low cost labor pool. To the degree China falters (for example with rising labor costs), other Asian countries appear ready to take up slack.

The US can certainly grow its capabilities in these four key groups, and forestall and even roll back parts of the Chinese incursion. But overtaking China would likely involve years of steep tariffs to protect the American turnaround in the four key areas. We can imagine trade wars, likely ugly. And we can certainly imagine significantly higher prices, both from what would initially and maybe ultimately be high costs in US production, and from the price impact of tariffs on imports.

But China does not dominate everywhere. They rate as minor players in a number of key sectors – autos, aircraft, chemicals, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and importantly fuel. China runs deficits in these areas.

Conclusions – at the Point

What can we conclude so far?

A singular focus on trade deficit reduction will not assuredly stimulate economic growth or job creation. Rather, economic growth depends heavily on productivity; and high per capita countries on average grow slower since productivity increases must arise via innovation and not adoption. And state-by-state data show that job growth depends not just on manufacturing and exports but many factors.

The data also show complex, intertwined trade flows in North America, and a lack of devastatingly large deficits. Rather, the net deficit has remained essentially level since 2001, and the integration of the North American markets likely helps North America remain competitive, for example in autos, in the world market. Further, given the close balance of imports to exports in that market for the US, an all-out focus on reducing the trade deficits in North America will likely decrease export employment to the same extent that reduced deficits improve that employment.

But a clear finding involves China. China has built a dominance in four key sectors, a dominance that rests now on several decades of integration and investment. A frontal assault on the Chinese juggernaut in those areas likely wastes resources. Also after China, Japan and Germany, having no wage advantage, still hold the next largest trade deficits with the US.

Oil, Auto, Areas of Strength, Divergence of Interest, and Export Deficiency

Within the US trade deficit hides an amazing story, oil. In 2008 our trade deficit in oil and related soared to over $400 billion. In 2015 that deficit shrank to under $100 billion.

This story shows petroleum clearly represents an area where the US possesses strong resources, advanced technology and deep infrastructure. Currently the US runs a net trade deficit in oil. However, the amazing performance since 2008 points to petroleum as an area for further reduction in imports, and for actual net export growth.

Add to petroleum, the sectors chemicals, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and even advance industrial and medical equipment. Thus US runs surpluses. And of course services. The US has tripled it trade surplus in services in the last 10 years.

Autos represents another success. Recall earlier that, unlike apparel, or electronics, or furniture, or paper, where imports devastated manufacturing employment and trade deficits increase by large multiples, auto trade deficits grew modestly. Auto manufacturing lost only 14% of its employment in the last 25 years.

And critically the integrated North America market arguably assists in the US capabilities. As for China, they run a trade deficit in autos. And US brands received wide acceptance and high sales in China. Autos, unlike say socks, or even Smartphones, involve complex manufacturing and components, thus China can not immediately close its manufacturing gap in autos.

Realize, though, a divergence of interest. Global corporations seeks financial goals, regardless of geography. Workers, and governments, seek jobs, with specific regard to geography. A divergence ensues. American workers desire the US auto makers to produce Chinese bound cars in America, while the auto makers, seeking financial goals, produce those Chinese cars in China.

We also have another, surprising, divergence. While the US in dollar terms ranks high in imports and exports, as a percent of GDP the US stand apart in how low it ranks. US imports comprise but 12% of GDP, among the lowest percentage of all countries. On the export side, US exports comprise but 8% of GDP, not just among the lowest but just about the lowest of any country.

This perspective points to a different approach to manufacturing jobs in trade intensive industries.

Compete, not Confrontation with Trade Wars

What now emerges for our look at trade flows, jobs and economic growth?

First, if we desire overall American economic growth, do not focus first on trade. Trade can, but will not assuredly, stimulate overall growth. Rather, for general growth, take action on productivity (i.e. to jump start more output per worker), or stimulate demand (to pull more workers into the labor force and/or increase work hours per worker.)

But overall growth can leave groups of workers behind, including those employed in traditional manufacturing jobs in trade sensitive industries. True, workers can move to a state which has seen job growth, and can get the necessary training and education to transition to a non-manufacturing job. We should, however, do better than just expect the workers themselves to deal with globalization and automation.

We all, in the form of our government, should help, with appropriate action to stimulate manufacturing employment.

What action? Well, do not pick a trade fight with Mexico. We export about as much as we import, so a fight risks as much as it might gain. And we need a unified North America market to build the supply chains and achieve the economies of scale needed to complete globally.

This does not preclude blunt, frank discussions, and even measures, but with the realization we want Mexico as a partner.

Do not mount a frontal assault on Chinese imports. Certainly, the US can sustain and even expand our apparel production, or furniture making, and electronics assembly, even with Chinese strength here. We can not though, beat back or overtake the well-developed, low wage cost, integrated production base of China and Southeast Asia.

What can we do? Boost exports. America ranks terribly low in export percentage of GDP. And America generates products other countries desire. China values American car brands, the world needs geopolitically neutral oil, our industrial equipment and medical technology vie world-wide, American designer furniture and custom apparel can still compete, and our natural gas feedstocks allow low cost, high value chemical production.

How can public policy boost exports, i.e. align corporate and national interest? In a way that might be an unusual twist. Allow corporations to bring back – untaxed – the billions in un-repatriated profits parked in foreign countries. But only if they invest the profits in manufacturing and similar job creation.

We must proceed with caution here as WTO rules restrict direct subsidization of exports. This special tax-free incentive thus would focus on jobs, with exports a means by which corporations could generate sales to support jobs.

Software companies hold the most un-repatriated profits, you might say. And software development provides only a poor opportunity for displaced manufacturing workers.

However, software will drive (literally) future self-driving cars. Unlike Smartphones, where China beat the US, and the world, in production, America appears at or near the fore front in development of self-driving cars, and then hopefully production. Partnerships between software and auto corporations makes sense, and thus a repatriation incentive can advance such partnerships.

What else to spur exports? Publicize corporate performance. A rather obscure provision, Part 583, provides an example. That rule requires auto manufacturers to publicize the American and Canadian content of cars. For example, Mitsubishi, Audi, Volkswagen, Volvo, Mazda, Kia, among others, perform horribly in this metric, less than 10%. Honda, in contrast, reaches over 50%.

But I sense few follow these statistics. Thus, Part 583 requires supercharging.

Very simply, expand the rule, dramatically. Specify that all major companies, Walmart, GE, Exxon/Mobil, automakers, and on and on, report key metrics like local content percentages, percent of foreign sales produced in the US, and similar items.

These two proposals, one for repatriation incentives and one for Part 583 expansion, are offered as real candidates for action. But any equivalent action can be taken. The key lies in the strategy. Do not start confrontations with Mexico and China over imports. Certainly stem the tide, and aggressively negotiate.

But do not retaliate. Do not start trade wars. Rather, especially given the export deficient stature of the US, focus on expanding exports to Mexico, China, and other countries, from sectors of American strength.

Look forward more, and backward less. We can not go back and become the electronics assembler of the world. We can go forward to excel in design and production of self-driving cars, of advanced aircraft and rockets, of both high volume and specialty chemicals, and in services, like software, architecture, law, environmental control.

Final words? Mexico provides a partner, not a foe. China offers a market, not an enemy. For plant closings, certainly bring scrutiny. On corporations, publicize export/import data. Negotiate hard. Compete aggressively. Boost exports with wise incentives.

But don’t pick fights. And don’t start trade wars. Be tough. But also wise.

The Effects Of Balance Of Trade Surplus And Deficit On A Country’s Economy


It is in no doubt that balance of trade which is sometimes symbolized as (NX) is described as the Difference between the monetary value of export and import of output in an economy over a certain period. It could also been seen as the relationship between the nation’s import and exports. When the balance has a positive indication, it is termed a trade surplus, i.e. if it consists of exporting more than is imported and a trade deficit or a trade gap if the reverse is the case. The Balance of trade is sometimes divided into a goods and a service balance. It encompasses the activity of exports and imports. It is expected that a country who does more of exports than imports stands a big chance of enjoying a balance of trade surplus in its economy more than its counterpart who does the opposite.

Economists and Government bureaus attempt to track trade deficits and surpluses by recording as many transactions with foreign entities as possible. Economists and Statisticians collect receipts from custom offices and routinely total imports, exports and financial transactions. The full accounting is called the ‘Balance of Payments’- this is used to calculate the balance of trade which almost always result in a trade surplus or deficit.

Pre-Contemporary understanding of the functioning of the balance of trade informed the economic policies of early modern Europe that are grouped under the heading ‘mercantilism’.

Mercantilism is the economic doctrine in which government control of foreign trade is of paramount importance for ensuring the prosperity and military security of the state. In particular, it demands a positive balance of trade. Its main purpose was to increase a nation’s wealth by imposing government regulation concerning all of the nation’s commercial interest. It was believed that national strength could be maximized by limiting imports via tariffs and maximizing export. It encouraged more exports and discouraged imports so as to gain trade balance advantage that would eventually culminate into trade surplus for the nation. In fact, this has been the common practice of the western world in which they were able to gain trade superiority over their colonies and third world countries such as Australia, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and other countries in Africa and some parts of the world. This is still the main reason why they still enjoy a lot of trade surplus benefit with these countries up till date. This has been made constantly predominant due to the lack of technical-know how and capacity to produce sufficient and durable up to standard goods by these countries, a situation where they solely rely on foreign goods to run their economy and most times, their moribund industries are seen relying on foreign import to survive.

What is Trade Surplus?

Trade Surplus can be defined as an Economic measure of a positive balance of trade where a country’s export exceeds its imports. A trade surplus represents a net inflow of domestic currency from foreign markets and is the opposite of a trade deficit, which would represent a net outflow.

Investopedia further explained the concept of trade surplus as when a nation has a trade surplus; it has control over the majority of its currency. This causes a reduction of risk for another nation selling this currency, which causes a drop in its value, when the currency loses value, it makes it more expensive to purchase imports, causing an even a greater imbalance.

A Trade surplus usually creates a situation where the surplus only grows (due to the rise in the value of the nation’s currency making imports cheaper). There are many arguments against Milton Freidman’s belief that trade imbalance will correct themselves naturally.

What is Trade Deficit?

Trade Deficit can be seen as an economic measure of negative balance of trade in which a country’s imports exceeds its export. It is simply the excess of imports over exports. As usual in Economics, there are several different views of trade deficit, depending on who you talk to. They could be perceived as either good or bad or both immaterial depending on the situation. However, few economists argue that trade deficits are always good.

Economists who consider trade deficit to be bad believes that a nation that consistently runs a current account deficit is borrowing from abroad or selling off capital assets -long term assets-to finance current purchases of goods and services. They believe that continual borrowing is not a viable long term strategy, and that selling long term assets to finance current consumption undermines future production.

Economists who consider trade deficit good associates them with positive economic development, specifically, higher levels of income, consumer confidence, and investment. They argue that trade deficit enables the United States to import capital to finance investment in productive capacity. Far from hurting employment as may be earlier perceived. They also hold the view that trade deficit financed by foreign investment in the United States help to boost U.S employment.

Some Economists view the concept of trade deficit as a mere expression of consumer preferences and as immaterial. These economists typically equate economic well being with rising consumption. If consumers want imported food, clothing and cars, why shouldn’t they buy them? That ranging of Choices is seen as them as symptoms of a successful and dynamic economy.

Perhaps the best and most suitable view about Trade deficit is the balanced view. If a trade deficit represents borrowing to finance current consumption rather than long term investment, or results from inflationary pressure, or erodes U.S employment, then it’s bad. If a trade deficit fosters borrowing to finance long term investment or reflects rising incomes, confidence and investment-and doesn’t hurt employment-then it’s good. If trade deficit merely expresses consumer preference rather than these phenomena, then it should be treated as immaterial.

How does a Trade surplus and Deficit Arise?

A trade surplus arises when countries sell more goods than they import. Conversely, trade deficits arise when countries import more than they export. The value of goods and services imported more exported is recorded on the country’s version of a ledger known as the ‘current account’. A positive account balance means the nation carries a surplus. According to the Central Intelligence Agency Work fact book, China, Germany, Japan, Russia, And Iran are net Creditors Nations. Examples of countries with a deficit or ‘net debtor’ nations are United States, Spain, the United Kingdom and India.

Difference between Trade Surplus and Trade Deficit

A country is said to have trade surplus when it exports more than it imports. Conversely, a country has a trade deficit when it imports more than it exports. A country can have an overall trade deficit or surplus. Or simply have with a specific country. Either Situation presents problems at high levels over long periods of time, but a surplus is generally a positive development, while a deficit is seen as negative. Economists recognize that trade imbalances of either sort are common and necessary in international trade.

Competitive Advantage of Trade Surplus and Trade Deficit

From the 16th and 18th Century, Western European Countries believed that the only way to engage in trade were through the exporting of as many goods and services as possible. Using this method, Countries always carried a surplus and maintained large pile of gold. Under this system called the ‘Mercantilism’, the concise encyclopedia of Economics explains that nations had a competitive advantage by having enough money in the event a war broke out so as to be able to Self-sustain its citizenry. The interconnected Economies of the 21st century due to the rise of Globalization means Countries have new priorities and trade concerns than war. Both Surpluses and deficits have their advantages.

Trade Surplus Advantage

Nations with trade surplus have several competitive advantage s by having excess reserves in its Current Account; the nation has the money to buy the assets of other countries. For Instance, China and Japan use their Surpluses to buy U.S bonds. Purchasing the debt of other nations allows the buyer a degree of political influence. An October 2010 New York Times article explains how President Obama must consistently engage in discussions with China about its $28 Billion deficit with the country. Similarly, the United States hinges its ability to consume on China’s continuing purchase of U.S assets and cheap goods. Carrying a surplus also provides a cash flow with which to reinvest in its machinery, labour force and economy. In this regard, carrying a surplus is akin to a business making a profit-the excess reserves create opportunities and choices that nations with debts necessarily have by virtue of debts and obligations to repay considerations.

Trade Deficits Advantage

George Alessandria, Senior Economist for the Philadelphia Federal Reserve explains trade deficits also indicate an efficient allocation of Resources: Shifting the production of goods and services to China allows U.S businesses to allocate more money towards its core competences, such as research and development. Debt also allows countries to take on more ambitious undertakings and take greater risks. Though the U.S no longer produces and export as many goods and services, the nations remains one of the most innovative. For Example, Apple can pay its workers more money to develop the Best Selling, Cutting Edge Products because it outsources the production of goods to countries overseas.


In this chapter, efforts were made to explain some of the issues concerning balance of trade and trying to X-ray some of the arguments in favour of trade balances and imbalances with a view to finding answers to some salient questions and making for proper understanding of the concept of trade balances surplus and deficit which is fast becoming a major problem in the world’s economy today which scholars like John Maynard Keynes earlier predicted.

In a bid to finding a solution to this, we shall be discussing from the following sub-headings;

(a). Conditions where trade imbalances may be problematic.
(b). Conditions where trade imbalances may not be problematic.

2.1. Conditions where trade imbalances may be problematic

Those who ignore the effects of long run trade deficits may be confusing David Ricardo’s principle of comparative advantage with Adam Smith’s principle of absolute advantage, specifically ignoring the latter. The economist Paul Craig Roberts notes that the comparative advantage principles developed by David Ricardo do not hold where the factors of production are internationally mobile. Global labor arbitrage, a phenomenon described by economist Stephen S. Roach, where one country exploits the cheap labor of another, would be a case of absolute advantage that is not mutually beneficial. Since the stagflation of the 1970s, the U.S. economy has been characterized by slower GDP growth. In 1985, the U.S. began its growing trade deficit with China. Over the long run, nations with trade surpluses tend also to have a savings surplus. The U.S. generally has lower savings rates than its trading partners, which tend to have trade surpluses. Germany, France, Japan, and Canada have maintained higher savings rates than the U.S. over the long run.

Few economists believe that GDP and employment can be dragged down by an over-large deficit over the long run. Others believe that trade deficits are good for the economy. The opportunity cost of a forgone tax base may outweigh perceived gains, especially where artificial currency pegs and manipulations are present to distort trade.

Wealth-producing primary sector jobs in the U.S. such as those in manufacturing and computer software have often been replaced by much lower paying wealth-consuming jobs such as those in retail and government in the service sector when the economy recovered from recessions. Some economists contend that the U.S. is borrowing to fund consumption of imports while accumulating unsustainable amounts of debt.

In 2006, the primary economic concerns focused on: high national debt ($9 trillion), high non-bank corporate debt ($9 trillion), high mortgage debt ($9 trillion), high financial institution debt ($12 trillion), high unfunded Medicare liability ($30 trillion), high unfunded Social Security liability ($12 trillion), high external debt (amount owed to foreign lenders) and a serious deterioration in the United States net international investment position (NIIP) (-24% of GDP), high trade deficits, and a rise in illegal immigration.

These issues have raised concerns among economists and unfunded liabilities were mentioned as a serious problem facing the United States in the President’s 2006 State of the Union address. On June 26, 2009, Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, called for the U.S. to increase its manufacturing base employment to 20% of the workforce, commenting that the U.S. has outsourced too much in some areas and can no longer rely on the financial sector and consumer spending to drive demand.

2.2. Conditions where trade imbalances may not be problematic

Small trade deficits are generally not considered to be harmful to either the importing or exporting economy. However, when a national trade imbalance expands beyond prudence (generally thought to be several [clarification needed] percent of GDP, for several years), adjustments tend to occur. While unsustainable imbalances may persist for long periods (cf, Singapore and New Zealand’s surpluses and deficits, respectively), the distortions likely to be caused by large flows of wealth out of one economy and into another tend to become intolerable.
In simple terms, trade deficits are paid for out of foreign exchange reserves, and may continue until such reserves are depleted. At such a point, the importer can no longer continue to purchase more than is sold abroad. This is likely to have exchange rate implications: a sharp loss of value in the deficit economy’s exchange rate with the surplus economy’s currency will change the relative price of tradable goods, and facilitate a return to balance or (more likely) an over-shooting into surplus the other direction.

More complexly, an economy may be unable to export enough goods to pay for its imports, but is able to find funds elsewhere. Service exports, for example, are more than sufficient to pay for Hong Kong’s domestic goods export shortfall. In poorer countries, foreign aid may fill the gap while in rapidly developing economies a capital account surplus often off-sets a current-account deficit. There are some economies where transfers from nationals working abroad contribute significantly to paying for imports. The Philippines, Bangladesh and Mexico are examples of transfer-rich economies. Finally, a country may partially rebalance by use of quantitative easing at home. This involves a central bank buying back long term government bonds from other domestic financial institutions without reference to the interest rate (which is typically low when QE is called for), seriously increasing the money supply. This debases the local currency but also reduces the debt owed to foreign creditors – effectively “exporting inflation”


Factors that can affect the balance of trade include;

1. The cost of Production, (land, labour, capital, taxes, incentives, etc) in the exporting as well as the importing economy.
2. The cost and availability of raw materials, intermediate goods and inputs.
3. Exchange rate movement.
4. Multi lateral, bi-lateral, and unilateral taxes or restrictions on trade.
5. Non-Tariff barriers such as environmental, Health and safety standards.
6. The availability of adequate foreign exchange with which to pay for imports and prices of goods manufactured at home.

In addition, the trade balance is likely to differ across the business cycle in export led-growth (such as oil and early industrial goods). The balance of trade will improve during an economic expansion.

However, with domestic demand led growth (as in the United States and Australia), the trade balance will worsen at the same stage of the business cycle.

Since the Mid 1980s, the United States has had a growth deficit in tradable goods, especially with Asian nations such as China and Japan which now hold large sums of U.S debts. Interestingly, the U.S has a trade surplus with Australia due to a favourable trade advantage which it has over the latter.


(a) Savings

Economies such as Canada, Japan, and Germany which have savings Surplus Typically runs trade surpluses. China, a High Growth economy has tended to run trade surpluses. A higher savings rate generally corresponds to a trade surplus. Correspondingly, the United States with a lower Savings rate has tended to run high trade deficits, especially with Asian Nations.

(b) Reducing import and increasing Export.

Countries such as the U.S and England are the major proponent of this theory. It is also known as the mercantile theory. A Practice where the government regulates strictly the inflow and outflow from the economy in terms of import and export. One major advantage of this theory is that it makes a nation self sufficient and has a multiplier effect on the overall development of the nation’s entire sector.


Saving as a means of realizing trade surplus is not advisable. For example, If a country who is not saving is trading and multiplying its monetary status, it will in a long run be more beneficial to them and a disadvantage to a country who is solely adopting and relying on the savings policy as the it can appear to be cosmetic in a short term and the effect would be exposed when the activities of the trading nation is yielding profit on investment. This could lead to an Economic Tsunami.


A situation where the export is having more value on the economy of the receiving country just as Frederic Bastiat posited in its example, the principle of reducing imports and increasing export would be an exercise in futility. He cited an example of where a Frenchman, exported French wine and imported British coal, turning a profit. He supposed he was in France, and sent a cask of wine which was worth 50 francs to England. The customhouse would record an export of 50 francs. If, in England, the wine sold for 70 francs (or the pound equivalent), which he then used to buy coal, which he imported into France, and was found to be worth 90 francs in France, he would have made a profit of 40 francs. But the customhouse would say that the value of imports exceeded that of exports and was trade deficit against the ledger of France.

A proper understanding of a topic as this can not be achieved if views from Notable Scholars who have dwelt on it in the past are not examined.

In the light of the foregoing, it will be proper to analyze the views of various scholars who have posited on this topic in a bid to draw a deductive conclusion from their argument to serve a template for drawing a conclusion. This would be explained sequentially as follow;

(a) Frédéric Bastiat on the fallacy of trade deficits.
(b) Adam Smith on trade deficits.
(c) John Maynard Keynes on balance of trade.
(d) Milton Freidman on trade deficit.
(e) Warren Buffet on trade deficit.

3.1. Frédéric Bastiat on the fallacy of trade deficits

The 19th century economist and philosopher Frédéric Bastiat expressed the idea that trade deficits actually were a manifestation of profit, rather than a loss. He proposed as an example to suppose that he, a Frenchman, exported French wine and imported British coal, turning a profit. He supposed he was in France, and sent a cask of wine which was worth 50 francs to England. The customhouse would record an export of 50 francs. If, in England, the wine sold for 70 francs (or the pound equivalent), which he then used to buy coal, which he imported into France, and was found to be worth 90 francs in France, he would have made a profit of 40 francs. But the customhouse would say that the value of imports exceeded that of exports and was trade deficit against the ledger of France. looking at his arguments properly, one would say that it is most adequate to have a trade deficit over a trade surplus. In this Vain, it is glaringly obvious that domestic trade or internal trade could turn a supposed trade surplus into a trade deficit if the cited example of Fredric Bastiat is applied. This was later, in the 20th century, affirmed by economist Milton Friedman.

Internal trade could render an Export value of a nation valueless if not properly handled. A situation where a goods that was initially imported from country 1 into a country 2 has more value in country 2 than its initial export value from country 1, could lead to a situation where the purchasing power would be used to buy more goods in quantity from country 2 who ordinarily would have had a trade surplus by virtue of exporting more in the value of the sum of the initially imported goods from country 1 thereby making the latter to suffer more in export by adding more value to the economy of country 1 that exported ab-initio. The customhouse would say that the value of imports exceeded that of exports and was trade deficit against the ledger of Country 1. But in the real sense of it, Country 1 has benefited trade-wise which is a profit to the economy. In the light of this, a fundamental question arises, ‘would the concept of Profit now be smeared or undermined on the Alter of the concept of Trade surplus or loss? This brings to Mind why Milton Friedman stated ‘that some of the concerns of trade deficit are unfair criticisms in an attempt to push macro- economic policies favourable to exporting industries’. i.e. to give an undue favour or Advantage to the exporting nations to make it seem that it is more viable than the less exporting country in the international Business books of accounts. This could be seen as a cosmetic disclosure as it does not actually state the proper position of things and this could be misleading in nature.

By reduction and absurdum, Bastiat argued that the national trade deficit was an indicator of a successful economy, rather than a failing one. Bastiat predicted that a successful, growing economy would result in greater trade deficits, and an unsuccessful, shrinking economy would result in lower trade deficits. This was later, in the 20th century, affirmed by economist Milton Friedman.

3.2. Adam Smith on trade deficits

Adam Smith who was the sole propounder of the theory of absolute advantage was of the opinion that trade deficit was nothing to worry about and that nothing is more absurd than the Doctrine of ‘Balance of Trade’ and this has been demonstrated by several Economists today. It was argued that If for Example, Japan happens to become the 51st state of the U.S, we would not hear about any trade deficit or imbalance between America and Japan. They further argued that trade imbalance was necessitated by Geographical boundaries amongst nations which make them see themselves as competitors amongst each other in other to gain trade superiority among each other which was not necessary. They further posited that if the boundaries between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario, made any difference to the residents of those cities except for those obstacles created by the Government. They posited that if it was necessary to worry about the trade deficit between the United States and Japan, then maybe it was necessary to worry about the deficits that exist among states. It further that stated that if the balance of trade doesn’t matter at the personal, Neighbourhood, or city level, then it does matter at the National level. Then Adams Smith was Right!.

They observed that it was as a result of the economic viability of the U.S that made their purchasing power higher than that its Asian counterpart who was Exporting more and importing less than the U.S and that it wouldn’t be better if the U.S got poorer and less ability to buy products from abroad, further stating that it was the economic problem in Asia that made people buy fewer imports.

“In the foregoing, even upon the principles of the commercial system, it was very unnecessary to lay extraordinary restraints upon the importation of goods from those countries with which the balance of trade is supposed to be disadvantageous. It obvious depicts a picture that nothing, however, can be more absurd than this whole doctrine of the balance of trade, upon which, not only these restraints, but almost all the other regulations of commerce are founded. When two places trade with one another, this [absurd] doctrine supposes that, if the balance be even, neither of them either loses or gains; but if it leans in any degree to one side, that one of them loses and the other gains in proportion to its declension from the exact equilibrium.” (Smith, 1776, book IV, ch. iii, part ii).

3.3. John Maynard Keynes on balance of trade

John Maynard Keynes was the principal author of the ‘KEYNES PLAN’. His view, supported by many Economists and Commentators at the time was that Creditor Nations should be treated as responsible as debtor Nations for Disequilibrium in Exchanges and that both should be under an obligation to bring trade back into a state of balance. Failure for them to do so could have serious economic consequences. In the words of Geoffrey Crowther, ‘if the Economic relationship that exist between two nations are not harmonized fairly close to balance, then there is no set of financial arrangement that Can rescue the world from the impoverishing result of chaos. This view could be seen by some Economists and scholars as very unfair to Creditors as it does not have respect for their status as Creditors based on the fact that there is no clear cut difference between them and the debtors. This idea was perceived by many as an attempt to unclassify Creditors from debtors.

3.4. Milton Freidman on trade deficit

In the 1980s, Milton Friedman who was a Nobel Prize winning Economist, a Professor and the Father of Monetarism contended that some of the concerns of trade deficit are unfair criticisms in an attempt to push macro- economic policies favourable to exporting industries.

He further argued that trade deficit are not necessarily as important as high exports raise the value of currency, reducing aforementioned exports, and vice versa in imports, thus naturally removing trade deficits not due to investment.

This position is a more refined version of the theorem first discovered by David Hume, where he argued that England could not permanently gain from exports, because hoarding gold would make gold more plentiful in England; therefore the price of English goods will soar, making them less attractive exports and making foreign goods more attractive imports. In this way, countries trade balance would balance out.

Friedman believed that deficits would be corrected by free markets as floating currency rates rise or fall with time to discourage imports in favour of the exports. Revising again in the favour of imports as the currency gains strength.

But again there were short comings on the view of Friedman as many economists argued that his arguments were feasible in a short run and not in a long run. The theory says that the trade deficit, as good as debt, is not a problem at all as the debt has to be paid back. They further argued that In the long run as per this theory, the consistent accumulation of a major debt could pose a problem as it may be quite difficult to pay offset the debt easily.

Economists in support for Friedman suggested that when the money drawn out returns to the trade deficit country

3.5. Warren Buffet on trade deficit

The Successful American Business Mogul and Investor Warren Buffet was quoted in the Associated Press (January 20th 2006) as saying that ‘The U.S trade deficit is a bigger threat to the domestic economy than either the federal budget deficit or consumer debt and could lead to political turmoil… Right now, the rest of the world owns $3 trillion more of us than we own of them’. He was further quoted as saying that ‘in effect, our economy has been behaving like an extraordinary rich family that possesses an immense farm. In order to consume 4% more than we produce-that is the trade deficit- we have day by day been both selling pieces of the farm and increasing the mortgage on what we still own.

Buffet proposed a tool called ‘IMPORT CERTIFICATES’ as a solution to the United States problem and ensure balanced trade. He was further quoted as saying; ‘The Rest of the world owns a staggering $2.5 trillion more of the U.S than we own of the other countries. Some of this $2.5 trillion is invested in claim checks- U.S bonds, both governmental and private- and some in such assets as property and equity securities.

Import Certificate is a proposed mechanism to implement ‘balanced Trade’, and eliminate a country’s trade deficit. The idea was to create a market for transferable import certificate (ICs) that would represent the right to import a certain dollar amount of goods into the United States. The plan was that the Transferable ICs would be issued to US exporters in an amount equal to the dollar amount of the goods they export and they could only be utilized once. They could be sold or traded to importers who must purchase them in order to legally import goods to the U.S. The price of ICs are set by free market forces, and therefore dependent on the balance between entrepreneurs’ willingness to pay the ICs market price for importing goods into the USA and the global volume of goods exported from the US (Supply and Demand).