By: Jan Mazotti Issue: Global Trade Section: Letter From The Editor
Connecting and Collaborating for Everyone’s Benefit
Just the facts…Japan has lost nearly half of its export market over the first quarter of this year compared to the first quarter of 2008. In China, exports fell 17% from a year ago with an estimated 26 million jobs lost. Exports from the United States declined 30% and imports 34% in the first quarter of this year compared to the last quarter of 2008. And in Germany, the biggest European exporter, first quarter exports fell by more than a fifth compared to the first quarter of 2008. The WTO has forecast overall global trade activities to fall by 9% in 2009.
Global trade is one of those topics that either makes you excited or wince when you hear the words. There is the perception that trade is a global economic driver - even though there have been significant declines during these tough economic times. Or, there is the perception that global trade is just outsourcing in disguise - killing U.S. jobs and causing economic and personal havoc worldwide.
Americans have historically believed that free trade destroys American jobs, rather than creating them, and that it lowers wages, rather than raising them. However, in an April 2009 study released by the Pew Research Center, “public support for free trade agreements has recovered after declining a year ago. Currently, 44% say that free trade agreements like NAFTA and the policies of the World Trade Organization are good for the country, up from 35% a year ago.”
In this issue, U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk defines the key elements of President Obama’s trade policy agenda and discusses some of the current challenges facing our nation. Former Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez addresses why we need to reaffirm our commitment to resist protectionism, especially when rising unemployment increases the pressure and temptation to put up trade barriers. Business Roundtable’s John Castellani makes the case for why trade is so important to the U.S. economy and how we must better collaborate to move forward as a nation. Several foreign Consular representatives have weighed in on the issues surrounding foreign trade, and they are surprisingly positive. And finally, specific companies and government entities are highlighted to show collaborative efforts that are being used to create and sustain global development efforts.
This issue, I believe, illustrates the importance of connecting and collaborating since global trade affects us all. We must work together to solve problems and create a vibrant global economy once again. No matter your position, I hope that you enjoy this issue. Now, turn the page.