The importance of free trade

Increased trade is good for America. In the past decade, U.S. exports have nearly doubled to $2 trillion a year. More exports from the United States can increase production of American made products, spurring and stabilising local jobs while supporting small business and increasing consumer choice, says Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas).

In Texas, for example:

Over 20,000 small and medium-size businesses rely on exporting goods, and one-in-five manufacturing jobs relies on trade.

Along the southern border, Laredo, Texas, the nation's largest inland trade post and 6th largest trade port, has experienced a stabilising effect in local unemployment, in large part due to trade.

While national unemployment hovers at or near 10 per cent, Laredo's unemployment has remained steady at 8.6 per cent – despite a 30 per cent poverty rate.

Every day, $1 billion is generated in trade between the United States and Mexico, with 10,000 trucks crossing Laredo's border every 24 hours; American goods are exported to Mexico as important Mexican goods move into the United States.

Trade like this helps keep our food prices down, says Cuellar. America exported more than $100 billion worth of agriculture products in 2009, supporting a $30 billion agriculture trade surplus here at home.

In a time of rising deficits and widespread unemployment, trade continues to generate revenues and jobs for the United States. These are revenues that we'd otherwise have to make up with widespread tax hikes or with jobs we'd struggle to recreate, says Cuellar, who supports passage of free trade agreements with Panama, Columbia and Korea.

Source: Rep. Henry Cuellar, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) on Free Trade, Heritage Foundation, March 3, 2010.

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First published by the National Center for Policy Analysis, Dallas and Washington, USA

FMF Policy Bulletin/ 04 May 2010
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