Ask Our Expert
Global Business Association
The Trade and American Competitiveness Coalition
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. The passage of FTAs with Colombia, Panama and South Korea in October 2011 opens these markets for U.S. exports by removing tariff and non-tariff barriers. The legal process for implementation of these agreements necessary for U.S. manufacturers to take advantage of the benefits is underway. As soon as it is available, the NAM will provide information on how you can take advantage of these three new agreements.
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 already has FTAs in force with 17 nations. Utilizing the preferential benefits of these existing FTAs can be a powerful factor in increasing manufactured goods exports for companies large and small. The NAM and its members are strongly encouraging 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 regional trade agreement; passing Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia to receive the benefits of its World Trade Organization accession; 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.