How international trade liberalisation benefits women

Free trade has been the engine of economic growth for the United States for decades. Unfortunately, too few American women appreciate the benefits that they enjoy as a result of free trade, says Sara F. Cooper.

For example:

  • Each day, Americans shop at local grocery stores that contain products from all over the world; Americans enjoy lower prices on everything from flowers to food as a result of the exchange of goods between nations.

  • The economic growth fuelled in part by trade liberalisation helps create jobs in the U.S., which has 6.4 million in sourced jobs; moreover, jobs tied to exports pay 13-18 per cent more than non-export related job.

  • Trade makes the world a safer place; countries with economies that are integrated by free trade have a common interest in preserving political harmony.

    Although she is often unaware of it, the average American woman is affected daily by free trade and the lack thereof. Trade affects what they eat, wear, drive, and how much they pay for these items, says Cooper.

    Agreements that facilitate trade between the United States and other countries have benefited consumers, workers, and average American families. As the U.S. Commerce Department notes, "The growth in trade over the past 50 years, fuelled by falling trade barriers, has contributed directly to the most rapid sustained economic growth in U.S. history."

  • Without exports, American producers would have fewer opportunities to sell their products since 96 per cent of consumers live outside of the United States.

  • Trade barriers have a huge impact on American workers; American farmers, for example, export one out of every three acres produced.

  • According to former United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Zoellick, over the past decade, U.S. exports have supported an estimated 12 million jobs.

    Source: Sara F. Cooper, The Global Girl: How International Trade Liberalization Benefits Women, Independent Women's Forum, Position Paper, June 2005.

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    For more on Benefits of Trade:

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 14 June 2005
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