Since 1947, the global trade rules have contained a “national security exception.” WTO members operate on the presumption that their fellow members will exercise the exception rarely and in good faith.
If you were to take a guess as to which American metropolitan areas export the most, you’d probably be right: New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Dallas, and Seattle top the list. But, if ranked by exports as a share of local GDP, it’s America’s smaller cities that top the list – four of the most export dependent are smaller cities in Indiana.
You probably know the stories of college student entrepreneurs who made it big, from Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and Bill Gates’ Microsoft, to the founders of Dell, Google, and Yahoo. I might not walk among these giants, but in the early 1990s, I ran a small biomedical supply company — out of my dorm room, where we managed to go global.
With $373 billion invested in our economy, it’s no wonder that Japan has an interest in maintaining close economic relations and seeing the U.S. economy succeed. When Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with President Trump this week, Abe is expected to present his “U.S.-Japan Growth and Employment Initiative,” a gesture that reflects that commitment.
Helping one set of manufacturing workers can put others in harm’s way. For example, anti-dumping duties on primary metals might help 400,000 metal workers, but it also disadvantages 6 million other manufacturing workers, whose families and communities equally value their jobs.
Sure, it’s good when American companies export goods and services to the world. But imports make many American-made products more competitive as well as enriching our lives as consumers – they are part of the secret sauce of what makes our economy work so well.
Shortly after his election in November, President-elect Donald Trump announced he made good on one of the promises of his campaign – to save jobs at a Carrier plant in Indiana that had been slated to move to Mexico. Trump’s announcement was great news for the Carrier employees who are keeping their jobs but it also perpetuates some misconceptions about where companies choose to locate and why and what it takes to bring back jobs to the United States.
Last year, real estate research group Zillow determined that homes located within a quarter-mile of a Starbucks coffee shop increased in value by 96 percent. Starbucks is a premium brand. So is North America. We’re lucky in the United States because Canada and Mexico are the kind of neighbors that increase our value.
On the average day, approximately $2.4 billion worth—2 million tons—of goods move between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Co-production of world-class products made has given North America an advantage over other regions in the world.
Thanks to technology and policy improvements, modern production is increasingly organized around the set of tasks required to bring a product to market, from invention to final use. These tasks form “value chains” of different firms in different places whose activities are precisely coordinated.