Uptick in U.S. exports drives domestic manufacturing growthThere have been positive economic reports out of the U.S. in recent weeks, led by robust manufacturing data out of most parts of the country; most of that growth, though, has been fueled by strong sales overseas.

This surging demand has propelled U.S. exports to expand at a pace nearly three times faster than the rest of the economy, according to NPR; moreover, federal data released last week showed that U.S. exports rose for the third straight month in November, clocking in at $160 billion.

What is driving the growth? Overseas customers are purchasing more U.S.-made airplanes, pharmaceuticals, foods and commodities, like cotton. Emerging world economics, like Brazil, China and India, are driving the growth and could help the U.S. reach President Obama's stated goal of doubling exports by 2015. President Obama has extended credit to small businesses and has orchestrated big ticket deals between Pakistan and GE, for example, to increase the competitiveness of U.S. goods abroad.

In an effort to spur further exports, President Obama has championed free trade agreements between the U.S. and South Korea, Columbia and Panama, though their passage is not a done deal. Tom Donohue, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, affirmed that those free trade agreements must pass to ensure the U.S. manufacturing industry continues to grow.

"The administration must work urgently with the new Congress to approve the South Korean, Colombian and Panama agreements," Donohue asserted. 
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