As a longtime supporter of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, I was pleased to read Robert J. Samuelson’s observation that “the larger threat to Trump’s trade agenda is the dollar’s role as the major world currency. It dictates trade policy in ways not widely understood and is the ultimate cause of chronic U.S. trade deficits” [“Trump’s no-win trade war,” op-ed, Aug. 13].
It is good that we are beginning to recognize that our trade deficits are, in part, a reflection of how U.S. exporters have long been burdened with an overvalued dollar in foreign-exchange markets that raised the price of their American-made product or service, while lowering the comparable price for foreign competitors. Perhaps these same economists will now better understand why we need the Export-Import Bank to even the playing field for U.S. exporters such as Boeing, which competes with Airbus, which prices its products in undervalued currencies.
At the same time, we should also recognize that, while the world currency status of the U.S. dollar disadvantages U.S. exporters, it is a valuable asset for enforcing U.S. foreign policy sanctions. Because global traders around the world depend heavily on the U.S. dollar to finance international trade, foreign suppliers have a strong incentive to join with us when we need international support for sanctions against countries such as Iran or North Korea. This foreign supplier support makes U.S. sanctions more effective and meaningful to those who are developing nuclear weapons.