The Corner

Hoosier Free Trader?

If you missed Daniel Ikenson’s piece from yesterday on trade in Indiana and North Carolina, it’s worth the read — even if he does use the word “Indianans.” (It’s “Hoosiers,” and no, I don’t know what it means, no living person does.) The point is that Obama and Clinton are bashing the idea of free trade in states where NAFTA and international trade in general are currently providing a huge net benefit for the economy.

Of Indiana, whose GDP is 30 percent manufacturing:

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Indiana’s producers shipped $26 billion worth of goods to foreign customers in 2007 — 14 percent more than the year before, and 80 percent more than in 2001. In fact, since 2001, the state’s exports have grown at a rate one-third faster than U.S. exports overall…Exports from Indiana to China increased by a whopping 36 percent between 2006 and 2007 — twice the rate of total U.S. export growth to China, and nearly four times Indiana’s exports to China in 2001…Likewise, Indiana’s exports to Canada and Mexico have grown…67 percent from 2001, eclipsing overall U.S. export growth to the NAFTA countries in both periods…Of 32 broad industry groupings, 28 in Indiana experienced export growth between 2006 and 2007, and 30 experienced growth between 2001 and 2007. Of the 28 industries showing export growth between 2006 and 2007, 23 experienced double- or triple-digit percentage growth.

And North Carolina: 

In North Carolina, producers shipped $23 billion worth of goods to foreign customers in 2007 — 10 percent more than the year before, and 59 percent more than five years ago…North Carolina’s exports to NAFTA have grown 46 percent over the past five years — to $7.4 billion…

It is important to point out that free trade has real benefits for Americans and doesn’t deserve to be anyone’s political pin-cushion. This idea that Clinton and Obama discuss, of re-negotiating all of our trade pacts, would be extremely damaging to workers in those states and many others as well.

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