NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Benefits of Trade

February 25, 2004

Despite workers' fears about job security, the case for free trade is, in fact, strong. Equally compelling is the case for strategies that address trade-related disruptions without hamstringing the nation's ability to compete in a globalized economy, says USA Today.

Among the tangible benefits of trade:

  • Consumers pay less for an array of imports; where global competition is fierce -- such as the auto, computer and cell phone markets -- prices have fallen even as quality has increased.
  • Historically, the creation of new jobs has outstripped trade-related job losses; in the past 20 years, the economy has added 36 million jobs -- a 35 percent increase -- in spite of an expansion of foreign trade.
  • Expanded global commerce due to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and a new world trade agreement adopted in 1994 has created an average of $1,260 to $2,040 in additional income for each American, U.S. trade officials estimate.

The unemployed can be assisted through retraining to develop the skills required to compete without the country turning its back on the global economy, says USA Today.

Source: Editorial, "Job losses unfairly tarnish benefits of free trade," USA Today, February 25, 2004.

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