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Pa. trade employment grew faster than total, CEO group said

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Business Roundtable, a Washington, D.C.-based group composed of the CEOs of some of America's largest companies, is using state-by-state trade statistics to illustrate the effectiveness of international trade and free trade agreements, including Pennsylvania's fast-growing trade employment.

Pennsylvania’s trade-related employment of 1.6 million jobs grew more than seven times faster than total employment from 2004 to 2011, according to a recent release from Business Roundtable that cites U.S. government data and its own research.

“With 95 percent of the world’s population outside of the United States, and more than one in five American jobs supported by trade, U.S. international trade and investment agreements have a major role to play in maximizing economic growth in Pennsylvania and all 50 states,” Business Roundtable President John Engler said in a statement.

Other stats about Keystone State trade:

  • Export of goods has grown three and a half times faster than state GDP since 2002.
  • Ninety percent of Pennsylvania exporters are small- and medium-size companies with fewer than 500 workers.
  • Since 2002, Pennsylvania’s goods exports to free-trade-agreement partners have increased by 118 percent. In 2012, $18 billion of Pennsylvania’s goods exports, or 47 percent, went to FTA partners.

The Business Roundtable is a steering-committee member of the Trade Benefits America Coalition, which also includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Farm Bureau Federation, and National Association of Manufacturers.

The U.S. has been moving forward on free-trade talks with European Union leaders after 2008 talks broke down. It’s also considering entering a 12-nation trade zone with Asian countries called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has riled some companies in the manufacturing community due to allegations that Japan has manipulated its currency.

The business and labor communities are far-from-united in their support and opposition of free-trade agreements, even in Central Pennsylvania. The South Korea Free Trade Agreement approved in 2011 brought those complexities to the surface.


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