Our politicians, from both parties, have been spewing venom against trade. The politicians are loud and misinformed. If the populist policies are enacted, they will have a devastating impact to the growth of USA Manufacturing jobs. Here are five reasons why we need more trade and trade deals.
1. Fat Salaries. Manufacturing jobs are good because of their exceptional high pay ($79,500 per year on average including benefits). This compensation package towers over the average American employee making $64,200 per year. But companies that export, pay an average $94,000 per year. Stunning. Exporting companies are typically more prosperous since they do not have all their eggs in only the USA Basket. Since they are not impacted by only one nation, their earnings are more steady and they can provide more compensation to their team. Also, exporting companies offer a more unique product so they need specialized talent to run their high end machinery.
2.Exports Increasing. If one listens to our political chattering class and the media, one would think we only import and hardly export. Actually, Manufacturing exports are on a hot streak over the last 24 years - growing from $330 Billion in 1990, to $708 Billion in 2000 and $1,403 Billion in 2014. My company, Marlin Steel exports wire baskets and wire forms to 39 countries - mostly to Mexico and Canada but we also ship containers to China! Every $200,000 in sales we make, we have to hire another unemployed factory worker from Baltimore to keep up with this demand. If we had more exports, we would have less unemployed people in Baltimore. You can see how many millions of USA jobs count on satisfying these wonderful foreign clients. Matter of fact, we need more exports so we have less unemployed.
3. Trade Agreements Help USA Manufacturers. When the USA cuts deals, USA factories perform. In countries the USA has scored a trade deal (Nafta, Cafta, etc), we had a $12.7 billion SURPLUS in manufacturing goods. Unfortunately, with countries we have no deals, we get our clock cleaned. Our nation had a $639.6 Billion DEFICIT with no-trade deal countries which take advantage of our factories and manipulate the playing field to hurt our manufacturing employees. More deals will create more USA Factory workers since our markets will be more level.
4.USA Deals = USA Rules.When the country secures a trade deal, we have a hand in setting the rules of the road. Right now we are buttoning up the Trans Pacific Partnership ("TPP") - a far reaching trade deal spanning most of the Pacific. If we secure this deal, American style protections of intellectual property, environmental and labor rights will be spread over 500 million people. If the deal is scraped, China will set the rules. I assure you, Chinese rules will not be as friendly to USA employees, our environment and our innovations.
5. 18,000 tariffs will be eliminated on the first day of the TPP. Right now, USA factories that try to ship to Japan, New Zealand, Vietnam, Peru etc. are burdened with taxes for the privilege to ship to these countries. If TPP is enacted, many taxes will go to zero so we will have a better chance to close deals in new markets. TPP will provide new markets and new sales so we will hire more unemployed talent that desperately wants to be in the middle class.