Last week, at an event put on by the Centers for Strategic and International Studies, Representative Charles Boustany (R-LA) explained that “trade is the surest way to achieve security in the long run.” Representative Boustany’s statement inspired me to think about the reasons everyone should care about trade. We frequently hear about trade’s role in spurring innovation, competition, and economic growth in the U.S., but we often forget to consider what that means for other countries. So, what does the global impact of trade look like?
Although the answer to that question may seem obvious, we cannot take it for granted. International trade affects every region, country, and city across the world.
- European Union – Intellectual Property (IP) protections act as conduit for innovation in a globalized economy. In order for these innovations to make a difference, we need to support every region’s efforts. The European Union (EU) represents an example of this kind of IP-reliant producer region. Over 90% of the EU’s exports, and 39% of its GDP, come from IP intensive industries. For the EU, agreements like the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)_ could spur investment and significantly shape the region’s future.
- Canada – One out of every five Canadian jobs relies on exports. Additionally, more than 60% of Canada’s entire GDP relates to trade. Trade has been on the tip of every Canadian’s tongue as they navigate through a trade agreement with the EU, as well as participate in the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership discussions.. As they continue to establish trade frameworks, Canada must determine how they can support their critical industries and strengthen their relationships with other trade partners.
- Mexico – Pharmaceutical exports in Mexico account for $1.87 billion (in U.S. dollars) in revenue, topping the list of all Latin American exports. Existing trade agreements have contributed to some of Mexico’s success, but trade agreements like the TPP hold an opportunity to continue this growth trend.
- Asia-Pacific Region – Over 40% of the world’s GDP growth comes from the Asia-Pacific region. The region’s dynamic growth combined with the emerging diversity of these markets means the role of international trade in these countries will only continue to grow
This year saw progress on a number of trade agreements across the world. From TPP to TTIP to CETA, global opportunities abound. While the benefits of trade could help revitalize many economies, the global impact of trade extends beyond GDP. Trade means jobs. Trade means security. Trade means the chance for a treatment to reach someone in need. When we talk about trade, let’s do what we can to remember that these agreements affect more than just the bottom line, they affect our lives.