New U.S. Chamber Report Details Benefits of Trade Agreements

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 9:00am

Illustrates Ways in Which Agreements Boost Growth, Ensure Accountability and Fairness, and Improve Conditions for Creation of Good Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today released The Open Door of Trade: The Impressive Benefits of America’s Free Trade Agreements, a report which catalogues the success of these agreements and makes the case for swift renewal of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).

“The benefits of these agreements for American workers, farmers, and companies are hidden in plain sight,” said Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of International Affairs at the U.S. Chamber. “This report casts light on how these market-opening agreements have succeeded in boosting economic growth, ensuring accountability and fairness in our trade relations, and improving conditions for the creation of good U.S. jobs.”

Report highlights include:

  • America’s 20 free trade agreement (FTA) partners generate just 10 percent of the world’s GDP but buy nearly half of U.S. exports. U.S. exports to new trade agreement partners have grown by an annual average of 18 percent in the five-year period following an agreement’s entry-into-force.
  • The increased trade facilitated by these FTAs boosted U.S. output by more than $300 billion and in turn supports an estimated 5.4 million U.S. jobs, according to an earlier study. Trade-related jobs also tend to pay well: For instance, manufacturing jobs tied to exports pay wages that average 18 percent higher than those that are not.
  • The U.S. has a trade surplus with its 20 FTA partners as a group. This includes sizeable trade surpluses in manufactured goods, services, and agricultural products.
  • U.S. manufacturers’ exports to trade agreement partners have topped $650 billion in recent years, generating revenue of about $55,000 for each American factory worker.
  • U.S. agricultural exports to trade agreement partners increased by more than 130 percent in the past decade and today exceed $56 billion.
  • Topping $700 billion last year, U.S. services exports are growing rapidly and support millions of high-wage jobs even though the potential for services industries to engage in international trade is almost untapped.
  • FTAs sweep away trade barriers that are especially tough on the 300,000 small and medium-size companies that account for 98 percent of all U.S. exporters and one-third of goods exports.
  • Imports play a vital role in the U.S. economy as well. Companies’ imports of intermediate goods, raw materials, and capital goods account for more than 60 percent of all U.S. goods imports and help them maintain their global competitiveness.

“Understanding the success of our trade agreements is more important than ever as the proposed trans-Pacific, trans-Atlantic, and services agreements come into sharper focus,” Brilliant added. “However, none of these trade agreements will become a reality without renewal of TPA. This is why TPA is the Chamber’s top priority before Congress.”

The full report is available here.

International trade and investment are key components of the Chamber’s 2015 American Jobs, Growth, and Opportunity Agenda, an ambitious plan to help revitalize the American economy, create jobs, spur growth, and lift incomes.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. Its International Affairs division includes more than 70 regional and policy experts and 25 country- and region-specific business councils and initiatives. The U.S. Chamber also works closely with 117 American Chambers of Commerce abroad.