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NFTC Vice President of Trade and Export Finance Discusses the Impact of U.S. Trade Policy on State Economic Growth
Date: 6/13/2007
Written By: Eric Thomas or Jennifer Cummings, The Fratelli Group for NFTC, 202-822-9491

Irace Highlights Importance of Concluding the Doha Round and Extending Trade Negotiating Authority

Washington, DC ­ In a speech delivered today during a meeting of the International Committee of the Council of State Governments, National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) Vice President for Trade and Export Finance Mary Irace provided a detailed assessment of how U.S. international trade policy benefits state economies. Irace also stressed that a positive way forward on trade includes Congress extending U.S. trade negotiating authority and international trade leaders successfully concluding the Doha Round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations.

"International trade and investment provides major benefits to the United States and is critical to continued U.S. economic growth and prosperity," said Irace. "A few facts highlight its significance – 25 percent of the U.S. economy is tied to our trade with the rest of the world, and millions of well-paying American jobs depend on trade. One in six jobs is supported by exports and these jobs typically pay 13 to 18 percent more on average than other jobs."

Irace noted that these and other statistics about the impact of trade on state economies are included in a special report released by the NFTC last month, titled "The United States and Global Trade: A State Legislator's Guide to Maximizing Economic Opportunity through Trade." The NFTC guide was distributed to a broad group of state legislative leaders to help shed light on the current U.S. trade agenda and to dispel many of the unfounded myths about the impact of trade on American companies and workers.

According to Irace, contrary to what opponents of trade contend, state exports and imports help to generate jobs across a number of sectors, including services, retail, transportation, manufacturing and wholesale distribution, among others. Irace also highlighted next steps on the U.S. trade agenda, including a successful and ambitious close to the Doha Round, extension of negotiating authority and approval of recently-concluded bilateral free trade agreements (FTA) with Peru, Panama, Colombia and South Korea.

"The U.S. will not be able to conclude the Doha Round nor will it be able to negotiate new FTAs without new Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). As the NFTC guide highlights, renewal of TPA is necessary because the Constitution grants the U.S. Congress the power to regulate foreign trade, but this is not workable in practice," said Irace. "We learned this the hard way during the 1930s when tariffs across the board were raised higher and higher by Congress due to pressure from special interests that wanted to erect protectionist walls. Other counties did likewise and this deepened and prolonged the global great depression. We learned then that isolationism was not a recipe for growth."

"The United States cannot afford to be left on the sidelines while other countries are busy negotiating preferential bilateral and regional trade agreements which exclude the U.S. There are 300 in existence today and many more are being negotiated," Irace stated.

The NFTC guide is available on the NFTC Web site at http://www.nftc.org/default/trade/US%20&%20Global%20Trade%20Report.pdf.

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Advancing Global Commerce for Over 90 Years

The National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org) is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.