Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

The Growing Impact of Trade on Jobs and the Economy

p>Despite all the attention to globalization over the past few decades, many American plastics businesses still are not pursuing export business. Some have considered it, but for reasons they consider valid decided it wasn’t right for them. Others haven’t even considered it or dismissed it out of hand. The time has come for a rethink.

Consider this sobering statistic: More than 80 percent of future global economic growth is forecast to come from outside the United States.

Yes, the USA is a great market, and that is almost sure to continue, particularly as the economy recovers. But still, 80-plus percent is a huge piece of the pie to leave on the table — for someone else to eat.

That statistic reached out and slapped me near the end of a short video I just watched called “Learn Why Trade Has a Positive Impact on Jobs and the Economy.” Recently posted by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the video provides a compact explanation of the impact of trade on jobs and the economy — American jobs, U.S. economy.

You can view the video below. Afterward you might want to forward the YouTube link  to friends and colleagues.

It wasn’t so long ago that we first became aware of globalization. The world was interconnecting as never before — and not just with the Internet. Since then we have seen globalization radically change the plastics value chain.

The changes will not stop. They are happening as you read this and there’s more to come. Plus, globalization is getting harder to deal with. It keeps moving around and changing its shape.

A year or two ago we were constantly hearing about rapid growth in the BRIC nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China. Though still significant, those have slowed down, and these days the buzz is focusing on the MIST countries — Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey. Their economies roughly doubled in the last decade. Other countries are right behind them. Keeping up with the changes and the opportunities they present is no easy task.

That’s why SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association assists its member companies in making connections that can open new export markets for them. SPI’s trade missions are an efficient and effective way to do that.

In July, Michael Taylor, SPI’s senior director of international affairs and trade, led a trade mission to Chile. Last week he had another in Panama. In December an SPI trade mission will be making new contacts in India, still a strong growth market with enormous potential. (Find information on SPI trade missions here.)

There are about 195 countries in the world, depending on who is counting, and the less developed of them are busy learning how to grow their economies. The action plans that result rely heavily on trade. But the big question is, how much of that trade will be with the U.S. Unless more American plastics companies get up and go after export business, it’s sure to be less than it could be, and possibly much less.



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