As trade negotiators head to Singapore for another round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks, U.S. lawmakers received a loud wake-up call on the state of U.S. trade. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) released a report yesterday that shows U.S. exports are increasingly important to our GDP, but that the U.S. share of global exports has dropped by more than 30% from 2000-2011 – falling behind China. The report points out that 39% of all U.S. trade activity is covered under free trade agreements, but that a successful TPP and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the EU would increase the number to 64%. As we’ve said in the past, trade agreements substantially open markets for U.S. exports by removing tariff and non-tariff barriers and would have a powerful, positive impact on manufacturers. The NAM has been pressing for strong outcomes in the TPP negotiations, and you can read more about our top priorities in the NAM’s new blog series Trading Up.
The CFR report also reinforces the need to attract foreign investment to the United States. In 2000, the U.S. received 37% of the world’s foreign direct investment (FDI); that number fell to just 17% in 2012. While the U.S. continues to be the largest recipient of FDI, it’s clear that other countries are seeing the benefits that FDI brings to a nation’s economy and pursuing those investments aggressively. We must continue to be the top destination for foreign investment and best place to manufacture in the future. The NAM Growth Agenda has outlined several key priorities that will increase our competiveness in the global economy.
On a positive note, we have seen some constructive developments in Washington. The NAM has supported the Commerce Department’s FDI promotion initiative, SelectUSA, and was pleased to hear the President’s remarks last month that called for new investments in the U.S. as well as increased exports abroad. And just today, the New York Times reports that lawmakers are close to getting a deal on Trade Promotion Authority, which is critical to successful TPP and TTIP agreements. Manufacturers will continue to work with our leaders to ensure that we achieve these important goals.