As part of the “Made in America Manufacturing Tour,” U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez visited Carnegie Mellon University Wednesday, outlining the role United States exports play in strengthening the economy. He said thanks to technology, there has been a fundamental shift in the way businesses operate.
“Years ago the competition for business here in Pittsburgh or in my hometown of Tampa was just across town, now it is across the world and it’s critical that American businesses compete on a global scale.”
Sanchez said it’s critical because 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States and, according to the International Monetary Fund, 80 percent of the world economic growth in the next several years will happen outside the United States. He cited a study done between 2005 and 2009.
“The study showed that businesses, particularly small and medium-sized companies that engaged in international trade saw their overall company revenue go up about 38 percent. Those that did not engage in international trade saw their revenue go down by about 7 percent,” he said.
Sanchez is part of an ongoing effort to increase U.S. exports internationally. Right now about 58 percent of businesses in the country are exporting to only one or two markets, and that, he said, presents an opportunity for growth. Sanchez added, the effort is paying off – last year the U.S. hit a record with $2.1 trillion in exports.
“This supported 10 million jobs, and by the way, 10 million high-paying jobs. Jobs associated with exports tend to pay between 15 to 18 percent more than the national average.”
Increasing U.S. exports would also help boost the manufacturing sector, and Sanchez said another major exporter that people don’t often think of is education.
“Last year the education sector generated over $20 billion in exports, and I love that sector. I love it because not only does it achieve and increase in exports, but I also believe that through education you create stronger links that will have long-term benefits between countries.”
Sanchez said those ties are just as important as the economic boosts that come from international exports, and added trade relationships help build diplomatic ties among countries. Sanchez called on the CMU students attending his lecture to consider careers in international trade, which he said will continue to be an important aspect of building the U.S. economy.