Trade Deals for American Prosperity  

Expanding trade in ways that are fairer for all Americans.

America First Policies believes in expanding trade in ways that are fairer for all Americans. All actions with regard to trade should seek to enforce U.S. trade laws; promote economic growth and job creation in the United States and reciprocity with our trade partners; strengthen our manufacturing base and our national security; leverage American economic strength to expand our agricultural and services industry exports; and protect U.S. intellectual property rights. To accomplish these goals, the United States must focus on bilateral rather than multilateral negotiations—and revise any trade agreements that aren’t protecting the interests of our American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses in global markets. By fighting for fair and balanced trade deals, we can bring jobs back to America’s shores, increase wages, and support U.S. manufacturing.

Click here for Senior Policy Advisor Curtis Ellis' interview on possible U.S.-Canada trade deal from August 30, 2018.

Click here for Senior Policy Advisor Curtis Ellis' interview on U.S.-Mexico trade deal from August 28, 2018.

Click here for Senior Policy Advisor Curtis Ellis' interview on trade policy from January 24, 2018.

The Facts:

  • Trade is critical to the success of many sectors of the U.S. economy, and in 2014, an estimated 41 million jobs were tied to trade. These jobs represented 22.1 percent of total employment, or more than one in five jobs.
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that exports of manufactured goods directly support approximately 6 million U.S. factory jobs—roughly half of all manufacturing employment. 
  • According to economic data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, U.S. real manufacturing output has risen by nearly 80% over the past 25 years.
  • 98% of the roughly 300,000 U.S. companies that export are small and medium-sized businesses, and they account for one-third of U.S. merchandise exports, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The number of small and midsized firms that export has risen about threefold over the past two decades.
  • Intellectual-property theft costs America up to $600 billion a year. China is responsible for most of that loss.
  • According to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the World Trade Organization, China imposes higher tariffs than the U.S. in 20 of the 22 major categories of goods. The European Union imposes higher tariffs than the U.S. in 17 of 22 categories.
  • The U.S. Commerce Department’s Office of Trade and Economic Analysis found that between 1995, the year after NAFTA went into effect, and 2011, U.S. content of manufactured goods imported from Canada dropped significantly—from 21 percent to 15 percent. U.S. content in goods imported from Mexico fell even more—from 26 percent to 16 percent.
  • In 2016, we imported nearly $750 billion more in goods than we exported.


“The Benefits of International Trade,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce,

Will Kimball and Robert E. Scott, “China Trade, Outsourcing and Jobs,” Briefing Paper #385, Economic Policy Institute, December 11, 2014,

Robert E. Scott, “The Consequences of Neglecting Manufacturing,” Issue Brief #396, Economic Policy Institute, April 20, 2015,

Robert E. Scott and Elizabeth Glass, “Trans-Pacific Partnership, currency manipulation, trade, and jobs,” Briefing Paper #420, Economic Policy Institute, March 3, 2016,

U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission 2016 Annual Report to Congress, November 16, 2016,

Office of the United States Trade Representative, Executive Office of the President, “The President’s 2017 Trade Policy Agenda,” March 2017,

Bruce Hirsh, “Taking matters into your own hands - Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, August, 3, 2017,

Nina Pavcnik, Professor, Dartmouth College, “The Impact of Trade on Inequality in Developing Countries,” a handout for Jackson Hole Symposium, August 25, 2017, based on the paper of the same name,

Commission on the Theft of U.S. Intellectual Property 2017 Report, February 27, 2017,

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Trade International Trade in Goods and Services, December 2016,

Read More:

Dan DiMicco, “A Nation That ‘Builds Things’,” December 15, 2009, Wall Street Journal,

Clyde Prestowitz, “Free Trade Is Dead,” Washington Monthly, June/July/August 2016,

“NAFTA Conversation with Secretary Wilbur Ross,” Bipartisan Policy Center, May 31, 2017,

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, “Free-Trade is a Two-Way Street,” Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2017,

Ana Swanson, “Trump administration goes after China over intellectual property, advanced technology,” Washington Post, August 14, 2017,

Dennis C. Blair and Keith Alexander, “China's Intellectual Property Theft Must Stop,” New York Times, August 15, 2017,

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, “These NAFTA rules are killing our jobs,” Washington Post, September 21, 2017,

Daniel DiMicco, “Temporary trade agreements solve long-term problems,” The Hill, September 26, 2017,

Huileng Tan, Bernie Lo, and Akiko Fujita, “Wilbur Ross: China doesn’t need ‘preferential treatment’ on trade anymore,”, September 26, 2017,


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