More than 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States, and they hold 75 percent of the world's buying power. Between now and 2060, half of global economic growth will come from developing countries.
Each year, the U.S. exchanges more than $5 trillion worth of goods and services with our trading partners. This trade supports one in five U.S. jobs. Small and medium-sized businesses — which account for 98 percent of exporters — are especially reliant on trade.
As the global supply chain becomes increasingly interconnected, international trade is becoming a larger part of the market share for businesses of all sizes. American manufacturers, innovators, services firms, and technology companies must participate on equal footing in the global economy. We need modern trade deals that open up new markets and break down trade barriers and market access restrictions. Recent comprehensive agreements with Mexico and Canada (USMCA) and Korea (KORUS), along with limited pacts with China, Japan, and Brazil, can serve as baseline references for new treaties with the United Kingdom and South Africa. Meanwhile, ongoing negotiations with the World Trade Organization present another opportunity for U.S. leaders to shape the next generation of rules-based, high-standard trade.
Local business leaders have an extraordinary opportunity to influence the next generation of trade deals. We recommend four principles to guide them. The first is to embrace the opportunity to write trade rules and create a level playing field for all trading nations. Second, we should expand the definition of American interests by assessing the impact of potential agreements on workers and consumers in every state. Third is to ensure better enforcement by including in deals the necessary teeth to achieve desired results. Lastly, our approach to trade should prioritize a larger package for American workers by focusing on strengthening wages, benefits, and skills at home.