The reason America’s trade deficit has remain elevated is petroleum, which accounted for 58 per cent of the trade deficit in 2011. The trade deficit rose to more than half a trillion dollars during the period.
A report by the Diplomatic Council on Energy Security states, “For the past two decades, the United States has run annual trade deficits for both petroleum and nonpetroleum goods and services, thereby requiring it to sell physical and/or financial assets to foreign nations in exchange.”
The difference between the value of foreign investments held in the U.S. and the value of U.S. investments held abroad has been negative since 1986. Currently, it totals roughly negative $2.5 trillion.
Here are some charts from the Council’s report.
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