World Trade Week: Open Markets, Ignite Growth
Recently, President Obama issued a proclamation regarding World Trade Week, designating the week beginning May 17 as an opportunity to recognize the important benefits global trade brings to the world economy — and why in difficult economic times, it is even more critical “to take advantage of every opportunity for export-driven growth.” I couldn’t agree more.
Exports accounted for 13 percent of U.S. economic activity in 2008, and the Treasury Department estimates some 57 million Americans work for companies engaged in global commerce. FedEx is part of this equation, with thousands of jobs tied to trade. Our team members and network provide exporters with access to markets across the globe—at last count, more than 220 countries and territories.
While trade can be a polarizing topic, expanding trade can benefit developed and developing countries alike. Time after time, studies commissioned by FedEx and others demonstrate that a country’s commitment to openly engage with the global economy will generate economic growth and development. Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Chile, and others have shown that opening markets, establishing the rule of law, and incentivizing trade facilitation provide tremendous opportunities, particularly for developing economies.
Despite the dramatic decrease in global poverty and the unprecedented expansion of economic prosperity over the past few decades leading up to the current global crisis, many still challenge the benefits of open markets and an integrated global economy.
But it is critically important to remember the real benefits that open markets and access to the global economy have brought to literally billions of people. The fact remains that openness ignites opportunity. As such we cannot let the current economic challenges blind us to the benefits that world trade will continue to provide, based upon the long-term track record of economic growth and social progress we’ve already seen.
History demonstrates that world trade will always be with us – which is why we must work together, as the President rightly notes in his proclamation, to expand trade to benefit the peoples of all countries across the world.
We must stand against those who would undermine and tear down a global economy that has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and provides the best hope for achieving economic recovery and prosperity for the most people possible.
And as the President said, we must all stand up for an open, transparent, rules-based trading system—but not just for one week, but every day of every year to ensure a brighter future for us all.