May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012 | Commentary on Trade

Forward on Trade

In your April 30 editorial “Good trade?” you wrote, “Free trade certainly has its benefits – export-related jobs are vital to North Carolina – [Yet] far too many folks here have seen their factory jobs pack up and move away to cheaper climes. And it’s not that our state is expensive or that our workers don’t earn their pay. It’s that the global trade system too often seems like an excuse for paying working people less, or taking away their jobs outright.”

Would people in North Carolina be better if we were able to turn back the clock? No way. For example, since 2003, when trade agreements with Chile and Singapore were signed, North Carolina has added over 190,000 new jobs. The state’s GDP is up nearly 37 percent, and manufacturing output is up 26 percent.

Since the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore trade agreements entered into force, North Carolina’s exports to Chile have grown by 170 percent and its exports to Singapore have grown by 88 percent. And yet, North Carolina’s candidates for governor can’t even agree on whether these deals were good for the state.

The state’s leaders need to look forward, not backwards. North Carolina needs more trade, not less, to prosper in the future.

About the Author

Bryan Riley Jay Van Andel Senior Policy Analyst in Trade Policy
Center for Trade and Economics (CTE)

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