International trade creates jobs here at home. Generating new or expanded markets overseas for our goods and services puts New Jerseyans and other Americans to work. Expanding the market for American goods and services drives the growth of our own economy, creates jobs, and strengthens our nation.
Here in New Jersey, international trade is indispensible to our economic strength. The Port of New York and New Jersey, for example, is a vital economic engine for our state and region. The Port spurs more than $36 billion in economic activity each year, is responsible for 279,000 jobs, and provides $12 billion in wages every year. Tens of thousands of people are directly employed along the piers, docks, warehouses, truck staging areas and rail yards at the Port, with thousands more working in New Jersey companies which depend on this vital asset.
That is why I have been a strong ally of the Port and have championed the decades long Harbor Deepening Project. If we do not keep New Jersey competitive with other ports along the Atlantic Coast by ensuring that the latest generation of cargo ships can come into our port, we will lose jobs and weaken our state’s economy.
In addition, Congress continues to work on expanding U.S. markets oversees in order to create more jobs here at home. We are considering legislation to grant the President Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). This will enable him to negotiate trade agreements – subject to an up-or-down vote by Congress.
Free Trade Agreements have had a proven record of success in our state. Free trade partner nations purchase 8.5 times more goods per capita from New Jersey businesses than countries with which we do not have a free trade agreement. There is no doubt that free trade promotes prosperity for our people.
Currently, negotiations are underway for three new free trade agreements: the Trans Pacific Partnership with Pacific-Rim countries, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union and the Trade in Service Agreement, a service only agreement with 23 World Trade Organization signatories including the European Union, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan and Mexico to name a few.
If enacted, these agreements will provide significant opportunities to boost our exports.
· The countries in the Trans Pacific Partnership – which represent many of the fastest-growing economies in the world – accounted for 40 percent of total U.S. goods exports in 2012. In New Jersey, trade with these countries accounts for 436,400 jobs in over 480 companies.
· And the EU purchased close to $460 billion in U.S. goods and services in 2012, supporting 2.4 million American jobs.
Free trade is good for New Jersey and good for America.