Trade deficit widens slightly

Trade is playing an important role in the closing days of the presidential election, especially in the swing state of Ohio.

GOP challenger Mitt Romney has made expanding free trade one of his five solutions for sluggish job growth and has accused President Obama of neglecting trade liberalization. He has called for more free-trade agreements and for creating an alternative to the World Trade Organization for countries that want to drop barriers more quickly. He has also vowed to challenge China more on the value of its currency, the low value of which tends to increase its exports and hurt U.S. exports to China.

The Obama administration counters that it has completed three free-trade agreements, has taken China to the WTO more aggressively than the previous administration and that it is pursuing talks on a TransPacific trade area. It also claims credit for saving the auto industry, a prime generator of exports and jobs in Ohio.