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Expanding Opportunity

The Benefits of Trade

  • Trade spurs growth in overseas markets for U.S. goods and services, enhances opportunities for higher-paying American jobs, expands choices for American consumers, and promotes U.S. security interests.
    • Trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada and the Uruguay Round global trade agreement have generated benefits -- lower prices and more choices -- totaling $1,300-$2,000 annually for the typical U.S. family.
    • Economists say that lowering barriers to trade by even one-third will boost the world economy by as much as $613 billion -- and the U.S. economy by $177 billion a year. To the typical family of four, that means an additional $2,500 a year in savings. (January 2001 study by University of Michigan and Tufts University)
  • Trade is good for America's farmers and ranchers.
    • 1-in-3 U.S. farm acres is planted for export.
    • In 2001, American farmers exported $55 billion in agricultural products and crops.
  • Trade is good for America's small businesses.
    • Small business is the backbone of our nation's economy, creating 3 out of every 4 jobs and generating roughly half of the U.S. private gross domestic product.
    • 97% of America's exporters are small businesses.
    • To stay at the forefront of innovation, U.S. small businesses need access to foreign markets.
  • Trade is good for American global leadership.
    • Trade spreads American values and reinforces the habits of liberty that sustain democracy.
    • Trade promotes growth and creates stronger partners for regional stability.

Trade has been a powerful force for overcoming poverty and for promoting sustainable development.