May 20, 2014
In a Presidential Proclamation released on May 16, 2014, President Obama declared the week of May 18 to May 24 to be “World Trade Week.” This long-standing annual tradition encourages Americans to celebrate and inform one another about the benefits of international trade, an effort which the NAFTZ wholeheartedly embraces.
One excellent example of the spirit of World Trade Week can be found in a recent Wall Street Journal article titled “Five Myths About Imports,” written by Trade Partnership President Laura Baughman. In the article, Baughman points out that politicians tend to focus exclusively on the benefits of exports when discussing international trade, while ignoring the jobs and other economic benefits created by imports. This focus is misguided, Baughman argues, pointing out that even after job losses are subtracted, an estimated 16 million Americans owe their jobs to imports.
One key myth dispelled in Baughman’s article is the idea that imports harm U.S. manufacturers. She writes:
“More than 60% of U.S. imports are raw materials, components and machinery that are used to make goods or grow crops…American manufacturers use these imported inputs when locally produced substitutes are either not available or too expensive. Imported inputs thus keep American manufacturing competitive, both locally and globally.”
The ability to access raw materials and inputs at global prices is indeed crucial to the success of U.S. manufacturers. Facilitating this access by lowering the cost of obtaining imports is one of the key objectives of the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones program, which enables U.S.-based producers to source inputs from around the world at reduced duty rates. As we have shown in our recent 2013 Annual Report, the competitive edge provided by the FTZ program has helped to extend the benefits of global trade to American companies, workers, and consumers.
During this year’s World Trade Week, the NAFTZ is proud to celebrate the importance of imports, exports, and the FTZ Program to the U.S. economy.