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World Trade Month: Reflecting on How Trade and Investment Lift the U.S. Economy

May 5, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Stefan M. Selig is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Shipping containers on a dockMay is World Trade Month. Every year at this time, we acknowledge the importance of trade and investment, and reiterate our commitment to the workers and businesses that sustain our country’s competitive advantages.

And given the records we achieved last year, this World Trade Month offers an excellent opportunity to reflect on how trade and investment lifts the U.S. economy.

For the fifth straight year, we set a record for annual exports. In 2014, we shipped out $2.34 trillion in goods and services. Those exports accounted for 13.4 percent of total GDP, compared to 7.5 percent 30 years ago.

U.S. jobs supported by exports also produced record numbers in 2014—11.7 million jobs. And those export supported jobs pay on average between 13-18 percent higher wages than non-export supported jobs.

As more American businesses, including small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) continue to increase exports to the 96 percent of consumers who live outside the U.S, we will see the trends of economic growth and job creation continue. That is why the entire administration is focusing its efforts on making trade promotion legislation a reality, which will give the President the same authority to negotiate trade agreements that every president has had since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Events honoring World Trade Month, as well as assisting U.S. companies in their exporting efforts, are happening across the country.

Here are just a few of the events taking place this month:

  • May 2-10: National Travel and Tourism Week: recognizing the travel and tourism industry, our largest service export sector.
  • May 4-8: National Small Business Week: honoring America’s entrepreneurs since 1963. SMEs make up 98 percent of our country’s exporters.
  • May 12-14: Discover Global Markets: the Americas, in Miami, Fla.: connecting U.S. businesses with market opportunities in Central and South America.
  • May 16-22: Department of Commerce trade mission to Egypt, Jordan and Israel: focusing on export opportunities in the areas of health care equipment, services and technologies.

And trade promotion seminars throughout the country are currently being held. These seminars help first-time exporters connect to new markets and help experienced exporters connect to more markets. We encourage businesses to contact their nearest Export Assistance Center to find out about events in their local areas, or to speak to an export or industry specialist.

I encourage you to follow the International Trade Administration on Twitter at @TradeGov where we will highlight many of the great events taking place this month.

Finally, thanks to all of the exporters who made 2014 the record year it was. We salute you on this World Trade Month.

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