The dramatic increase in the merchandise balance of trade deficit between the United States and its major competitors has prompted a call for policies designed to increase the international competitiveness of the American economy. Policies designed to promote the competitiveness of particular industries must be approached with caution. Unless they are based on a sound understanding of the sources of the economic benefits of trade, they are unlikely to accomplish their objectives. The real key to improving international competitiveness lies in better macroeconomic management of the nation's economy.
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