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Here’s Why Imports Are a Vital Component of U.S. Economy

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(Pexels/Tom Fisk)

Eight business organizations, including the National Retail Federation (NRF), have a released “Imports Work for American Workers,” an economic impact study that found imports support more than 21 million American jobs.

The study focuses on the net impact of imports on U.S. jobs, including statistics on sectors such as retail, apparel, transportation, manufacturing and consumer technology. The study also looks at how imports support jobs in states across the U.S. as well as trade policy initiatives pending before Congress and the administration with the potential to preserve or diminish import-related jobs.

“Imports are a vital component of the U.S. economy,” said Jonathan Gold, the NRF’s vice president of supply chain and customs policy. “Not only do they expand the product market and lower the overall price of goods for consumers, but they also help create and support millions of American jobs.”  

Among the report’s key findings are:

• Imports support more than 21 million American jobs across the country, including a net positive number in every U.S. state. The 10 states accounting for the largest number of import-related jobs are California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

• Imports from key trading partners — including Canada, China, the European Union and Mexico — support a net positive number of U.S. jobs.

• Import-related jobs are good jobs that pay competitive wages. Nearly 8 million of the jobs related to importing are held by minorities and 2.5 million jobs are held by workers represented by unions.

• The vast majority (96%) of companies who import are small- or medium-sized businesses.

The NRF said U.S. trade policies, many now pending before Congress and the administration, have the potential to both support and hurt these jobs.

Besides the NRF, the American Apparel and Footwear Association, the American Chemistry Council, the Consumer Technology Association, the National Foreign Trade Council, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Fashion Industry Association and the U.S. Global Value Chain Coalition commissioned the study.

View the full report here.

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