Happy Imported Thanksgiving!

From the establishment trade policy perspective, trade is all about jobs.  Hence, I wasn’t too surprised to see this blog post from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, explaining how Thanksgiving helps the U.S. balance of trade.  They start by reassuring everyone that eating Thanksgiving foods is suitably patriotic in economic terms: “Chances are most … Thanksgiving food staples will be grown and raised here in America.”  But apparently it’s not enough that we are avoiding imports; we must also be exporting, because that creates jobs!  In this regard, they note the following figures for U.S. exports (2011 figures) of Thanksgiving fare:

– $520 million in fresh, frozen, whole or cut turkey

– $255 million of potatoes

– $19 million of fresh cranberries

– $952 million of apples

– $1.25 billion of wine

– $2 million of pumpkin seeds

– $183 million of pecans.

We here at Cato’s trade policy center have no objection to exports, but we really like imports as well.  So, with the help of research assistant Inu Barbee, I have put together some rough import figures for those same products:

– $30 million of fresh, frozen or processed turkey

– $857 million of fresh or frozen potatoes

– $50 million of fresh cranberries

– $133 million of apples

– $4.8 billion of wine

– $35 million of pumpkin seeds

– $287 million of pecans

To sum up:  Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner, wherever it came from!