Bilateral Trade Ninety-five percent of the world's consumers live outside the United States. Manufacturers in America must be able to reach those consumers to grow their businesses and create jobs. Manufacturers rely on bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) as a proven, practical way of eliminating foreign trade barriers and creating new markets for American products. FTAs account for nearly one-half of U.S. manufactured goods exports. They lower the price for consumer goods in the United States as well as the costs U.S. businesses pay for imported materials. Bilateral FTAs also open foreign markets to U.S. goods, increasing employment in those export sectors. The Census Bureau reports that over the past two years, U.S. manufacturers had a $50 billion surplus with their counterparts in FTA partner countries. Conversely, in the same time period, the U.S. trade deficit in manufacturing goods with the rest of the world was an astounding $820 billion. The United States has FTAs in force with 20 nations. These agreements substantially open markets for U.S. exports by removing tariff and non-tariff barriers. Utilizing the preferential benefits of existing FTAs can be a powerful factor in increasing manufactured goods exports for companies large and small. The NAM and its members strongly encourage key players in the Administration, Congress and the international community to move forward on some of the most pressing trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) regional trade agreement; the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP); and, launching new bilateral and regional trade initiatives. Additionally, the NAM leads an advocacy effort for a strong, proactive U.S. Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) program. Without these critical tools in the fight to open foreign markets, U.S. manufacturers are at a significant competitive disadvantage.