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Retailers Highlight Importance of Imports for American Jobs During “Imports Work” Week

PRESS RELEASE: Arlington, VA–The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) will highlight the essential role that imports play in the American economy during the third annual “Imports Work” week, scheduled from May 5-9, 2014. May has long been recognized as World Trade Month, with many groups taking the opportunity to underscore the role international trade plays in creating American jobs and maintaining the strength of the American economy.

RILA and other business organizations plan to focus on the growing role of global value chains and how increasing flexibility can improve the ability of American companies to compete in the global economy, while benefitting workers and consumers in the domestic market.

“Retailers are well aware of the critical role imports play in the American economy,” said Stephanie Lester, vice president of international trade at RILA. “For the sake of American economic competitiveness, US trade policy should also acknowledge the value of imports and work with the global economy instead of against it.”

Numerous economic studies have been done to show that exports and imports are closely related, and American workers can add substantial value to imported products through the use of global value chains. One study, Analyzing the Value Chain for Apparel Designed in the United States and Manufactured Overseas, found that U.S. workers add more than two-thirds of the actual retail sales value of apparel manufactured overseas. The study also found that the U.S. value-added translates directly into well-paying American jobs in areas such as research, design, logistics, compliance, distribution, and customer service.

“Imports create American jobs and trade policy should be updated to support these imports and the millions of American workers that help to create them and bring them to market,” Lester continued.

Participants in Imports Work Week, including numerous associations, civic organizations, elected officials and members of the administration, plan to reinforce the value that imports hold by conducting seminars, releasing statements, commentaries and blog posts and engaging grass roots and social media activity to extend the message to the American public.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.