Trade Benefits U.S. Workers, Farmers, and Families
12 million American workers and farmers depend on trade for their jobs (Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and International Trade Administration).
1 in 5 factory jobs depends on exports, and 1 in 3 acres on American farms is planted for hungry consumers overseas (U.S. Foreign Agriculture Service). Isolationism runs the risk of putting these Americans out of work.
As American families work to make ends meet, trade provides lower prices and more choices when they shop.
The Facts: Trade Agreements Offer a Fair Deal for American Workers
95% of consumers of American goods live outside of the United States, and they love American products. These overseas markets represent 73% of the world’s purchasing power and 87% of its economic growth. Booming exports generated more than a quarter of U.S. GDP growth in 2007, helping counter the downturn in the housing and finance sectors (U.S. Office of the Trade Representative). In 2010, developing countries purchased 53% of U.S. goods and exports, leading to a spike in sales to East Asia and the Americas.
Combining sales of manufactured goods, farm products, services, and natural resources, the United States tops both Germany and China by about $200 billion as the world’s top exporter.
More than 50 million Americans work for companies that engage in international trade, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. One in three manufacturing jobs depends on exports, and one in three acres on American farms is planted for hungry consumers overseas.
Many foreign countries still impose steep tariffs on U.S. exports, while the U.S. market is already open to imports. For American workers and farmers, that's just not fair.
New trade agreements are the solution to this problem. By eliminating foreign tariffs and other barriers to U.S. exports, trade agreements create a level playing field for American workers and farmers.
Passage of the Colombia, Panama and South Korea Free Trade Agreements
In October, President Obama signed the three outstanding free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, signaling a victory for American workers and American competitiveness.
For America’s small- and medium-sized businesses, these agreements were critical. Nearly 30,000 small- and mid-sized U.S. companies export to Colombia, Panama and South Korea, accounting for roughly a third of U.S. exports to these countries. Approval of the trade agreements will boost these businesses’ sales and allow many more companies to tap into these growing markets. Plus, these trade pacts will not only save 380,000 jobs, but they will create an estimated 250,000 new ones across the United States. Click here to send a letter to your Members of Congress today and thank them for their vote in support of these free trade agreements.
With the passage of the trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama finally behind us, the Chamber is calling on world leaders to take up an aggressive trade agenda. Increased trade can create hundreds of thousands of badly needed American jobs without a single tax increase—and without adding a dime to the deficit.
The first item on this agenda is negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The Asia-Pacific region boasts the fastest growing economies in the world, but it's where the United States is falling behind. The U.S. share of Asia’s international trade has declined by 9% since 1990 as Asian nations have negotiated trading agreements among themselves.
The Chamber is also pushing for lawmakers to consider transatlantic opportunities by working with the EU to eliminate all tariffs on goods traded across the Atlantic. Likewise, the Chamber supports negotiating a liberalization of trade in services through the World Trade Organization.
Moving on the momentum created by the recently passed trade agreements, we should begin considering new trade deals with emerging economies like Brazil, Egypt, and India.
Finally, we need to draw more foreign investment and tourism to the United States. Nationwide, tourism is a $700 billion industry that supports 7.4 million American jobs. This can be expanded by bringing more countries into the Visa Waiver program and reducing the barriers that our visa system imposes on businesses and leisure travel.
The U.S. Chamber continues to build support for trade throughout the nation. With unemployment skyrocketing and our economy slow to recover from the most recent downturn, the U.S. Chamber is promoting the many ways increased trade can boost our economic recovery and put Americans back to work. The Chamber’s newest trade program, Trade Supports Jobs, sheds light on the direct link between trade and American jobs in your state and community.
Click here to learn more about how trade creates new jobs and opportunities.