Last year a wave of imports erased the traditional U.S. trade surplus in high technology goods. This astonishing reversal occurred over only four years and gained momentum only in the last two. From its peak of $25.5 billion in 1980, the trade balance slipped to $22.0 billion in 1982, to $17.0 billion in 1983, and plunged into negative numbers in the second half of 1984. Thus has the most reliable if not the largest offset to perennial U.S. deficits in low technology manufactures and oil at least temporarily disappeared. (See table l.) 1