A chart in Sunday's Business section incorrectly stated the percentage of the 1982 U.S. trade deficit held by certain countries. The correct figures are: Japan, 44.5 percent; OPEC, 23.2 percent; Mexico, 9.4 percent; Canada, 30.7 percent, and Korea and Taiwan, 13.3 percent. The chart does not show figures of other trading partners with whom the United States had trade surpluses, thus accounting for an overall total in the chart of more than 100 percent.
The United States chalked up its largest trade deficit in history last year -- $123 billion -- and, as a result, the ire of congressmen, trade unions and business executives has been directed primarily at Japan.
But it took more than Japan to cause a deficit of that magnitude.
Although the U.S. deficit with Japan on trade in goods was the largest -- $36.8 billion -- the deficit with some other countries also is growing rapidly.
The merchandise trade deficit with Mexico, for example, grew from $4 billion in 1982 to $6.3 billion last year. The deficit with South Korea has swollen from $482.7 million in 1982 to $4 billion last year.
The decline of oil prices and the threats of the breakup of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries would lead one to believe that the trade deficit with these countries is softening also. But that is not the case.
The deficit with OPEC actually jumped last year to $13.7 billion from $9.6 billion in 1983; it had been $9.9 billion in 1982.
The rising deficit wasn't caused by imports of oil, which dropped from $32.7 billion in 1982 to $28.1 billion last year. Rather, the problem was that the shipment of U.S.-made goods to OPEC countries slipped from $22.9 billion in 1982 to $14.4 billion last year as the nations' oil revenues declined and they were unable to make purchases from the West.
And what about America's old friends and allies? The deficits with them also have been growing rapidly.
The deficit with West Germany nearly tripled in two years, from $3.2 billion to $8.7 billion last year. Exports of goods to Germany have remained about the same since 1982, while imports jumped from $12.5 billion to $17.8 billion. Many of those goods were iron and steel products.
Trade with the United Kingdom has remained about the same, with the deficit there reaching $2.3 billion last year.
The European Economic Community as a whole chalked up one of its first surpluses with the United States in 1983 -- $1.6 billion -- and hasn't paused yet. Its surplus grew to $13.3 billion last year. The United States had a $3.5 billion surplus with the EEC nations in 1982.
Trade with America's northern neighbor was bleak as well, with the deficit growing from $13.1 billion in 1982 to $20.4 billion last year.
One major area of import penetration by Canada and Japan has been new automobiles. The value of new-car imports grew from $20.6 billion to $30.2 billion. Cars from Canada were valued at $5.8 billion in 1982 and $10.1 billion last year. The value of Japanese imported cars grew from $9.8 billion in 1982 to $13.1 billion.
The U.S. trade balance always had benefited from strong exports of agriculture products; however, even that lead has been slipping. The surplus, which was $20 billion in 1982, dropped to $16.7 billion last year.