A new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal confirms that a majority of Americans support free trade. The poll reports:
“55 percent of voters agree with the statement that free trade with foreign countries is good for America, because it opens up new markets and because the United States can’t avoid it in a global economy.”
Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady will continue to make the case for free trade because it helps grow our economy and strengthen our economic freedom. As he recently explained at the Washington International Trade Association (WITA):
“Like the term ‘free speech,’ the term ‘free trade’ doesn’t refer to its cost, it means the freedom TO trade. In America it’s our freedom to buy, sell and compete anywhere in the world with as little government interference as possible … Free trade isn’t about China, or Mexico, or Britain. It’s about America – and guaranteeing Americans their economic freedom.” Here are 5 ways the ‘freedom to trade’ helps Americans:
- IT PROMOTES ECONOMIC GROWTH AND PROSPERITY. The freedom to trade supports our free enterprise system. It opens up markets for American workers, farmers, and businesses, vastly expanding our customer base to markets around the world. To meet the demands of growing markets abroad, job creators must hire more American workers, who in turn earn higher wages and contribute to the economy.
- IT LOWERS TAXES. When American companies import goods from other countries, the federal government charges a tariff – an additional tax that raises the price of everything from cars to clothing. It also raises the prices on raw materials and other inputs that U.S. manufacturers rely on to make their products here, in turn raising the prices on “Made in America” products. Trade deals remove tariff and non-tariff barriers to lower prices for American consumers and make it easier to export American-made products.
- IT PUTS AMERICAN CONSUMERS IN CHARGE. Trade agreements help remove government-imposed barriers to competition and innovation. As Chairman Brady has said, free trade is “the most anti-establishment” tool available because it tells bureaucrats and special interests that “we, the American consumer, will buy what’s good for our family or business at the price we choose to afford.” Trade provides our job creators with the economic freedom they need to innovate, become more efficient, and produce at lower costs to successfully compete for customers here and abroad. American businesses, workers, and consumers reap the benefits because new products are less expensive to make and purchase.
- IT IMPROVES OUR COMPETITIVE EDGE. When we enter into trade agreements with other countries, we boost trade not only by forcing other countries to reduce their barriers to our goods and services, but also by establishing strict rules and enforcing them if our trade partners cheat. Through trade agreements, we aren’t just buying American products, we are successfully selling American products as well. The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 — signed into law last February — establishes new, effective tools to prevent other countries from getting away with violating the rules. In doing so, we strengthen America’s negotiating position so that our businesses can excel in the global marketplace.
- IT KEEPS AMERICA IN THE LEAD. The world does not stand still if we simply do not engage in trade. Other countries, like China, are racing ahead to negotiate trade agreements that will leave us out of important markets for our goods, services, and agriculture. If we want to influence the rules of trade, we have to take the lead. We can’t win from behind.
As Chairman Brady declared:
“Given all that’s at stake, we cannot afford to limit our freedom to trade. Nothing will weaken America faster or strengthen our competitors more than rolling back that freedom.”
Chairman Brady will continue to support the freedom to trade and work to ensure that our trade agreements — done right and aggressively enforced — will expand opportunities, strengthen our economy, and improve American lives.