More than 16 million U.S. jobs depend on imports, according to a new study commissioned by the Consumer Electronics Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation, and the American Apparel & Footwear Association.
The economic impact study, which was prepared by Laura M. Baughman and Joseph F. Francois of Trade Partnership Worldwide, had several key findings:
— More than half the firms that import directly are small businesses, employing fewer than 50 workers.
— Imports improve American families’ standard of living by ensuring a wide selection of budget-friendly goods from clothing and footwear to electronics and fresh fruits and vegetables.
— A large number of these import-related jobs are union jobs, and many are held by minorities and women.
— American manufacturers and farmers rely on imports of raw materials and intermediate goods to lower their production costs and stay competitive in domestic and international markets. Factories and farms purchase more than 60 percent of U.S. imports.
— Imports generate exports. The United States is integrated into international supply chains so that even U.S. imports contain U.S. exports, particularly those generated in high-skilled and capital-intensive stages of production such as R&D and design.
The study employed a widely used computable general equilibrium economic model known as the Global Trade Analysis Project, which is maintained by a consortium of more than 30 international organizations and government agencies, including the U.S. International Trade Commission, World Trade Organization, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Bank, and several U.S. government agencies.