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Contribution of Imports to U.S. Food Supplies

The Sixth Chart shows graphically the complete dependence of the United States on imports to provide some of the most common items we consume every day and the high dependence on imports for several others. It is interesting to note that three-fifths of all imports of foodstuffs into the United States are tropical items—such as coffee, tea, bananas, cocoa, spices—which are not commercially grown in this country.

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Leading Commodities in U.S. Foreign Trade--1956

The Seventh Chart has been prepared to provide some specific examples of the principal products involved in U.S. foreign trade. The graph of exports at the left of this chart gives some idea of the range of products we sell abroad, both agricultural and manufactured. The graph of principal imports at the right shows again the extent to which primary products, both foods and raw materials, make up our purchases from abroad. Note how much greater is the dollar value of the machinery we export ($3.8 billion) than the value of the machinery we buy abroad ($354.4 million).

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Products We Buy and Sell Abroad

The Eighth Chart sums up the story of our foreign trade for 1956, the latest
year for which complete figures are available. From it we learn that in 1956 we
sold to other countries over $17 billion worth of goods, not including military aid
shipments. What we sold consisted of manufactured articles and raw materials and
foodstuffs-products which make jobs for workers in our Nation's factories and
mines and provide income for our farmers. We also learn that we are still buying
much less from abroad than we are selling to other countries.

We want to continue to sell our products to other countries. The jobs of 41/2
million Americans depend on foreign trade. And the economic development of our
friends abroad depends upon the products we sell them. But one way or another
they must eventually obtain dollars to pay for these products and to make up the
“trade gap.” They can get those dollars by selling more goods to the American
people; in our own interest we must give them that opportunity.

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