Report shows U.S. is falling behind global trading competitors

The United States is falling behind its competitors in reducing global trade barriers, according to a recent report by Corn Refiners Association.

President and CEO John Bode says the report tracks new market-opening trade agreements entered into by the U.S. and its major economic competitors since 2010.

“Since 2010, China has entered into 12 new market opening trade agreements and other major competitors have entered into lots of new agreements. For example, Canada has entered into nine. But what’s more important than the number of trade agreements, is the benefits received from those trade agreements because they’re not all alike and one of the agreements China entered into is the largest in the world,” he says. “So, we looked at what are the benefits we received from these new market-opening trade agreements since 2010 and we found that the US enjoyed less than 1/4 of the benefit that China did from those agreements and less than half of the agreements entered into by the European Union. So that means China, the world’s largest trading country, is not only ahead of us, but they are moving farther and farther ahead, much faster while we are standing still.”

The report shows that China, Japan, the EU, and Canada have outpaced the U.S. in creation of new bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.

“That is of concern to market access for American exporters like American farmers and those involved in agriculture industry, but also the economic influence of America and our strategic position,” he says.

Bode says there is a new political reality in the U.S. as the Biden Administration is not pursuing new comprehensive new trade agreements.  

“But, we feel there is broad recognition that USMCA, our agreement with Canada and Mexico, was a great success and that’s why it achieved historic levels of support across the aisle in Congress. That is the standard so we should move forward with smart trade agreements that protect America’s interest and there is great opportunity to do that especially following up with a trade agreement with the United Kingdom.”  

More information on the 2023 update by the Corn Refiners Association on Trade Agreements and U.S. Competiveness can be found here.

“The reason that Corn Refiners Association does this report is we feel it’s of critical importance to the health of our agricultural economy, which reaches through the American economy, to open new markets, have access to markets, and recognize that we’re in a competitive environment,” Bode says. “If the U.S. stands still, it doesn’t mean the rest of the world stands still waiting for us. So, we take a snapshot and look at what’s happened since 2010 and it’s pretty astounding.”

The report concludes that, “the United States’ self-removal from the game to set the rules for trade in the Asia-Pacific, South America, and other promising regions of economic growth and rising consumer demand encourages potential partners to move forward without us. It ensures that our trade rivals will define the path of global trade rules, standards, and practices. When the U.S. engages and pursues market access through bilateral and multilateral trade agreements it demonstrates global leadership and ensures that the United States leads the way on setting global trade rules. Shifting U.S. trade policy into a more forward-leaning posture to open foreign markets and expand trade fosters U.S. global competitiveness and in turn secures benefits for the U.S. economy, American workers, and consumers.”

CRA is the national trade association representing the corn refining industry of the United States.

Audio: John Bode

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