Study finds trade policy costly to U.S.

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Updated Jan 21, 2010

A U.S. Chamber of Commerce study, “Trade Action or Inaction: The Cost for American Workers and Companies,” estimated the economic cost – particularly in lost American jobs – resulting from “Buy American” rules in the stimulus bill, failure to approve pending trade agreements, and the United States’ refusal to fully implement cross-border trucking with Mexico. The study found that the last of these has resulted in $2.2 billion higher costs for U.S. families and companies, $2.6 billion in lost U.S. exports and more than 25,000 lost jobs for American workers.

“The U.S. has refused to keep its word to Mexico,” says Thomas Donohue, U.S. Chamber president and chief executive officer. “How can we call on other countries to meet their obligations under trade agreements if we refuse to meet our own?”

The study calculated costs to American consumers based on Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs ($421 million since implementation in March), continuation of drayage services at the border ($2.6 billion yearly) and loss of 26,500 jobs due to the reduction in exports to the country.
“Half a million American jobs are at risk if the U.S. fails to move forward on trade,” Donohue says. “We need to jumpstart America’s export economy because we can’t rely on consumer spending, business investment or ballooning government expenditures to drive our recovery.” – Todd Dills