About the Issue | Trade Benefits America

The Importance of Trade Agreements to U.S. Businesses, Farmers & Workers

More than 95 percent of the world’s population, and 80 percent its purchasing power, are outside the United States. This means future U.S. economic growth and jobs increasingly depend on expanding U.S. trade and investment opportunities. Free trade agreements (FTAs) do exactly that. In fact, in 2013 alone, America's FTA partners purchased 12 times more goods per capita from the United States than non-FTA partners.

The United States is currently negotiating a new and ambitious FTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), with 11 other countries: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Combined, these countries represent nearly 40 percent of global GDP, and trade with the TPP countries currently supports more than 15 million U.S. jobs.

The TPP represents a new standard for global trade and economic engagement in the 21st Century. It will lower trade and investment barriers for U.S. businesses and farmers to sell more goods and services to the more than 480 million consumers in TPP partner countries.

The lower tariffs and trade barriers the deal represents could mean growth and job creation here at home. Forty-four percent of U.S. goods exports currently go to TPP countries, and with fewer trade barriers, we could see that number increase.

What Others Are Saying About Trade

"The TPP is an agreement that will support a U.S. economic future that is geared towards innovation in high-end manufacturing and services. The TPP will also underpin a global economic system that is rules-based, consistent with U.S. values, and strengthens the ability of U.S. businesses to compete in TPP markets. Such a system will ensure that the U.S. benefits more fully from the global economy — and the opportunities here are significant. Currently, 95 percent of the world’s population lives outside the United States. Global middle-class consumption is projected to grow from $21 trillion in 2009 to over $56 trillion in 2030, with most of the growth happening outside the U.S. in the Asia-Pacific region." 

Joshua Meltzer, Fellow, Global Economy & Development, Brookings Institution, April 09, 2015

 

 

"The TPP is by far the most important and comprehensive trade pact undertaken since the advent of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. The 12 participating countries account for about 40 percent of global output and a quarter of world exports. With the Doha Round of WTO talks near collapse, the TPP is the only initiative that commits major trading countries, both developed and developing, to deep liberalization of trade in goods and services. It also establishes strong new obligations on investment, labor, the environment, and state-owned enterprises."

Jeffrey Schott, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics, August 2015

 

 

 

"But we also need to broaden opportunities for peace by preventing competitors from becoming adversaries and giving violent extremism a chance to flourish. In my view, employing American leadership to expand international trade presents precisely such an opportunity — one we squander at the risk of US interests, lives, and national honor."

General James L. Jones, Former National Security Advisor,  April 17, 2015

 
 
 

"The bottom line is that, as global trade intensifies, we need to be both at the helm, and in the thick of it. Three years ago, trade accounted for about a third of global GDP. In a decade, it could approach half of global GDP. America’s economy, and our security that depends on it, cannot afford to be left behind.”

Secretary Ashton Carter, Department of Defense,  March 26, 2015

 

 

“If, however, we fail to move forward with TPP, Asian economies will almost certainly develop along a China-centric model. In fact, China is already pursuing an alternative regional free trade initiative. TPP, combined with T-TIP, would allow the United States and our closest allies to help shape the rules and standards for global trade.”

17 Former Defense Secretaries & Military Leaders in a Bipartisan Letter to Congress, May 07, 2015

 

About the Coalition

The Trade Benefits America Coalition includes a wide range of associations and companies that are dedicated to the pursuit of U.S. international trade agreements that...More