Our trade deficit with China rose 20 percent to a record $273 billion last year, according to figures just released by the Commerce Department. For political reasons, this is a depressing, dangerous result.

American exports to the PRC soared 32 percent in 2010, which is a welcome development. It is nonetheless depressing because American imports from the PRC rose 23 percent, yet the trade gap still widened.Our exports are so much smaller than our imports that they fall further behind when growing noticeably faster. With imports growing 23 percent, our exports would have had to double last year for the trade deficit just to hold steady.

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