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On the finance side, international capital flows and global imbalances were the primary focus.For most of the last four decades, the United States has been a net importer of capital from the rest of the world.From the start of the previous century until the early 1980s, the U.S. seldom recorded a deficit on its external current account. After it emerged as a world power at the end of World War I, the U.S. became a net supplier of capital to the rest of the world.Japan was singled out as a particular culprit of the soaring global imbalances, because its current-account surplus topped 4 percent of its GDP in 1986, while the Bank of Japan amassed record levels of U.S. Treasury securities.The U.S. has run chronic current-account deficits for almost two generations.When the same question was put to the U.S. in its era of surpluses at the end of World War II, when the concern was a global shortage of dollars, it was dismissed unequivocally.The U.S. has recorded external surpluses in only three of the 38 years since 1980 .
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