WASHINGTON - U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick announced today the release of USTR materials documenting how the two major trade agreements of the 1990s -- the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Uruguay Round -- have been responsible for annual gains of between $1,260 and $2,040 for the average American family of four. Zoellick released the materials in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, a Washington-based advocacy group with a history of opposition to free trade.
"As these numbers demonstrate, free trade and open markets provide real benefits to real people," said Zoellick. "They have delivered lower prices, more choices, and higher incomes for hard-working Americans. The $1,260-$2,040 that goes to the average American family thanks to NAFTA and the Uruguay Round is real money for farmers, nurses, teachers, police officers, and office workers. It can buy three months of groceries, a year's supply of gasoline, or pay the tuition for two semesters in a community college. And the biggest beneficiaries from these price reductions and income gains are lower-income Americans, who bear a disproportionate burden when prices for food, clothing, and appliances are kept artificially higher because of trade barriers."
The North American Free Trade Agreement encompasses the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Its implementation began in January 1994. The "Uruguay Round" was a global round of trade negotiations completed in 1994 that opened trading markets throughout the world.
"Consider the specifics of NAFTA," said Zoellick. "Today the United States exports more to Mexico than to the four European members of the G-7: Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, combined. In the seven years since NAFTA's implementation, U.S. exports to Mexico and Canada now support 2.9 million American jobs -- 900,000 more than in 1993. Such jobs pay wages that are 13 to 18 percent higher than the average American wage."
The full text of the documents released in connection with the FOIA request are available here.