New report highlights importance of trade to create jobs

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, May 17 – The United States is missing out on opportunities to boost trade and jobs: To create the 20 million jobs we’ll need by 2020, we must leverage the opportunities presented by trade, according to a new report commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The opportunities abroad are vast: Outside our borders are markets that represent 73% of the world’s purchasing power, 87% of its economic growth, and 95% of its consumers. Trade is recovering in the wake of the financial crisis, and the WTO reports a feared epidemic of protectionism did not materialize, according to the Chamber.

However, as the rest of the world races to complete new trade and investment agreements, America is being locked out and left behind, the Chamber says. The European Union has concluded FTAs with Colombia, Panama, and Korea. Canada’s parliament is poised to give final approval to an FTA with Colombia as early as June, and one with Panama is close behind. The Chamber estimates the United States could suffer a net loss of more than 380,000 jobs and $40 billion in lost export sales if it fails to implement its pending trade agreements while the European Union and Canada move ahead with their own accords.

A new Chamber study shows that Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are a clear-cut path toward job creation. To show the benefits of these agreements for U.S. workers, the U.S. Chamber commissioned a study entitled Opening Markets, Creating Jobs. It found that 17.7 million American jobs depend on trade with 14 countries with which we have FTAs. Of this total, 5.4 million jobs are supported by the increase in trade generated by the FTAs. No other budget-neutral government initiative has generated anything near the number of jobs.

Thanks to our FTAs, U.S. merchandise exports to these 14 countries grew nearly three times as fast as our exports to the rest of the world over the past decade. If the United States is to double exports within five years as President Obama has pledged, the proven export boosting record of FTAs will be indispensable.

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