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Weak trade policy mires domestic manufacturing status

11
Apr '08
American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC) Executive Director Auggie Tantillo debated National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Vice President of International Economic Affairs Frank Vargo at the Washington International Trade Association's (WITA) forum on Trade and Manufacturing.

Domestic manufacturing is mired in the midst of a crisis unprecedented since the Great Depression. Deeply flawed U.S. trade policy is the single most important root cause of the illness, undermining U.S. manufacturing competitiveness on a global basis.

Absent a rational U.S. trade policy, U.S. manufacturing should be experiencing the best of times. Consider the following. Since 1950, U.S. Gross Domestic Production (GDP) has grown 550 percent in inflation-adjusted terms while the U.S. population has doubled from 150 million to 303 million. Since 1990, U.S. GDP has grown by a little more than 50 percent in inflation-adjusted terms while the U.S. population has increased by 54 million.

Moreover, the percentage of U.S. GDP used for consumer consumption has been above 70 percent in each of the previous six years. Noting this figure, it should not be surprising that U.S. household and federal government debt has skyrocketed to unprecedented levels. Together, household and federal debt almost have doubled over the past seven years, soaring by $10.4 trillion to reach $23.1 trillion, an amount 64 percent larger than the entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP).


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