Trade and manufacturing continues to be bandied about in interviews with presidential and other candidates, achieving a level of national attention that it deserves given the importance of trade to manufacturing. Unfortunately, most of the conversations are totally removed from the reality of manufacturing in America today and both the challenges and opportunities it provides to businesses, small and large, and the American workforce.
As we begin World Trade Month, let’s all start on the same page:
Manufacturing Output Is at Record Levels.
In the most recent data, manufacturers contributed $2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy. This figure has risen since the second quarter of 2009, when manufacturers contributed $1.70 trillion.
Trade Growth Has Quadrupled Over the Past Quarter Century, as Has Manufacturing Output (See Chart Below).
Free Trade Agreements, Such as NAFTA and Those with 18 Other Countries, Have Been Vital to Grow Manufacturing in America
Manufacturers in America sell 12 times more to our 20 free trade agreement (FTA) partners than to the rest of the world, even though they represent only 6 percent of the world’s consumers. The United States has a trade surplus overall with its FTA partners if that’s how you want to judge the relationship.
Manufacturing in America Will Lose to Foreign Competitors if the United States Does Not Move Forward Aggressively with New Trade Agreements, Such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Agreement.
Other countries are more aggressively negotiating trade agreements that exclude and hurt the United States, meaning U.S. exporters face higher tariffs than most other countries in the world:
A robust U.S. trade policy to grow manufacturing in America must open foreign markets, ensure strong trade enforcement and improve U.S. manufacturing competitiveness in the face of substantial global competition. Click here to learn more.