According to research from the Department of Commerce by Jeffrey Hall and Chris Rasmussen, goods exports (manufactured products, agricultural products, natural resources and used/second-hand products) supported 7.1 million jobs in 2014 – up one million jobs, or 16.4 percent, over 2009 levels. In 2014, export-supported jobs made up 5.1 percent of total employment. The importance of goods exports to states, however, varies significantly. In Alaska and Washington for example, goods exports support more than one out of ten jobs. In 16 states, exports support 3 percent or less of total employment. From 2009 to 2014, exports have become even more important to job growth. Over this period, the number of jobs supported by exports grew in all but seven states. 


During much of the past year, the White House has been engaged in an ambitious foreign policy agenda that includes restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba, finalizing a nuclear deal with Iran and negotiating a free-trade agreement with 11 countries along the Pacific Rim. In December 2014, President Obama announced he would re-establish diplomatic ties with Raul Castro’s Cuba. Six months later, Obama announced that the U.S. had reached an unprecedented multilateral agreement that would prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. In the next few months, the Obama administration is expected to finalize one of the largest free-trade agreements ever concluded. Following is a roundup of the administration’s recent foreign policy activities in each of these areas and what it means for states.

In May, the World Trade Organization found country-of-origin labeling requirements, often referred to as COOL requirements, in the United States to be inconsistent with its international obligations. If Congress fails to repeal these requirements, Canada or Mexico may enact retaliatory trade actions valued at more than $3 billion against various companies across all 50 states.  Read more HERE.

Access to export capital continues to be one of the largest barriers for American small business exporters. While the federal government does have successful programs for helping small businesses find the financing necessary to become exporters, another potential Congressional roadblock is showing the importance of state programs to keep goods moving. The U.S. Export-Import Bank, also known as the EX-IM Bank, is the official export-credit agency of the United States. The bank’s mission is to support American jobs by facilitating exports of domestic goods and services through direct loans, loan guarantees, working capital and export credit insurance

More than 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power resides outside the United States—that’s a lot of customers for U.S. businesses. More than one in five American jobs—38.1 million—depend on international trade. In addition, foreign-owned companies employ 5.3 million Americans.
Looking to the global marketplace for economic development and paying attention to export and import trends is no longer an option for state policymakers—it is a necessity.

CSG Midwest
The United States and Canada signed a preclearance agreement in March that will allow people traveling from one country to the other to be prescreened before they cross the border. When fully implemented, thisAgreement on Land, Rail, Marine, and Air Transport will allow U.S. agents to be stationed in Canada (and Canadian agents in the United States) and to carry out immigration, customs and agriculture inspections of people entering the U.S. from Canada by any mode of transportation.
A preclearance program for airline passengers is already in place at eight of the largest Canadian airports; it will be expanded under the new accord.

In his State of the Union speech earlier this year, President Obama promoted international trade as a way to improve the U.S. economy. As the federal government focuses on concluding two large free trade agreements on the international front, state trade offices are well positioned to help small businesses navigate the export process here at home. And the State International Development Organizations, a CSG affiliate program commonly known as SIDO, is helping states do this even better.

CSG Midwest
The busiest commercial border crossing in North America may finally be on its way to expansion. On February 18, the U.S. and Canadian governments and the state of Michigan announced an agreement to build and operate a new U.S. customs plaza, one of the last major hurdles to the construction of a new bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

The Border Legislative Conference, a program of The Council of State Governments West, released a report, “The U.S.-Mexico Border Economy in Transition,” at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. The report is the result of four Regional Economic Competitiveness Forums held along the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014 to collectively generate a shared vision and policy recommendations to strengthen economic competitiveness. The report lays out the major issues involved in border region economic development, compiles the many innovative ideas developed at the forums and weaves them into a series of policy recommendations that draw on the experiences of those who understand the border best: the individuals who live in border communities and who cross back and forth between Mexico and the United States as a part of their daily lives.