Skip to main content

“Made in America” Goods Continue to Boost Exports

The allure of American-made goods is increasingly boosting U.S. exports, and small and medium sized manufacturers are leading the charge.

In a United States of Trade Report released Thursday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and United States Trade Representative Michael Froman noted that $2.3 trillion worth of goods and services were exported last year, the fifth straight year of record-breaking imports and a 102 percent increase since 2004. Those goods supported 11.7 million jobs.

“In every state across the country good-paying jobs are tied to ‘Made in America’ exports,” Ambassador Froman said. “This report also tells the story of American small businesses that will benefit from tearing down trade barriers in markets around the globe, and this is where we see a lot of opportunity for growth and more trade supported jobs. With the Trans-Pacific Partnership we have a once-in-a-generation chance to unleash the economic potential of American small businesses and to level the playing field for our workers.”

The report data shows that 43 states saw growth in the number of jobs supported by goods exports. And small and medium sized businesses made up 98 percent of all American product exporters.

Roughly 300,000 small and medium sized business are supporting the domestic job market through direct exports and participation in supply chains, but according to the report, that only scratches the surface of possibility.

“With 95 percent of the world’s customers living outside of U.S. borders, there is enormous potential for our business—and small business in particular—to grow their exports, hire more American workers, and expand their bottom lines.”

North Carolina, for example, one of the more prominent textile and apparel manufacturing states in the country, exported $2 billion worth of textiles and fabrics in 2014, 41 percent of which went to Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) partner countries and 20 percent were destined for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) locales.

Related Stories

The report says the government understands, however, that high tariffs can diminish already small margins and make exporting difficult. And with other challenges like weak intellectual property rules, America’s small businesses still aren’t exporting as much as they can, and to as many countries as they could.

That’s where the TPP is supposed to come in.

The trade deal is being negotiated with 11 other nations (Australia, Brunei, Canada,Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam) and, once completed, is expected to open markets home to the world’s fastest growing middle class to “Made in America” goods.

Under the also in-negotiation Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), a deal the U.S. is working on with the European Union, the report said American businesses and their workers will be at the center of a free trade zone that covers nearly two-thirds of the global economy.

“Realizing these gains requires action,” Pritzker and Froman noted. “In recent years, countries across the Asia-Pacific have struck more than 200 trade deals, while American workers and businesses have largely missed out. We cannot afford to sit on the sidelines as others strike deals that put our businesses and workers at a competitive disadvantage and encourage a race to the bottom. By moving forward with standards that reflect our interests and values, including the highest labor and environmental protections, we can protect American jobs and catalyze a race to the top.”