President Barack Obama’s trade policies so far lack clarity - and that may mean problems for manufacturers, an economic analyst for the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association says.

Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., FMA economic analyst, made the comments in the newsletter Fabrinomics.

“U.S. exports have broken records for 22 straight months,” Kuehl said. “For almost a year, it was the export sector that kept the United States out of recession and it will very likely be overseas markets that help manufacturers survive the current recession.

“The Obama plan has a lot of content that relates to domestic activity, but a coherent trade policy will have to emerge if the United States is going to navigate the challenge of trade, other nations’ protective impulses and the tendency of U.S. companies to retreat into isolationist strategies.”

Keuhl said recent cabinet appointments have been a disappointment, with records that show anti-trade policies or only lukewarm support.

“And with the withdrawal of Bill Richardson, the post of secretary of commerce seems to be a hot potato nobody seems to want,” he added.