Date: 5/1/2018

Ed Hamberger, Association of American Railroads CEO, and Kurt J. Nagle, CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities, recently shared their views on international trade in a new Orange County Register column. From the unique perspective of rail and ports, Hamberger and Nagle agree on the importance of free and fair international trade, arguing that U.S. retrenchment will not only hurt workers but the logistics sector that supports much of today’s modern economy.

“At the core of the nation’s economic strength is the ability to move goods efficiently, a modern-day phenomenon that trucks, railroads, ships and ports make possible with a sophisticated logistics network,” Hamberger and Nagle note. “With it comes quality jobs and the ability to sell and consume goods seamlessly and globally, as we now come to expect in the digital era. Actions that would inhibit trade could have sizable negative repercussions to American jobs and the economy.”

“To maintain [America’s] economic powerhouse, we encourage the Trump administration and Congress to consider the economic and employment impact on seaports, rail hubs and their surrounding communities prior to imposing trade sanctions on imports from other nations.”

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The Brookings Institute — a non-proft public policy organization — issued a new report, “Export Monitor 2018,” which contextualizes the impact of trade on specific areas. Many of these are regions directly served by private freight railroads, which help support thousands of jobs in these areas.

“Of the 12.7 million export-related jobs, 11 million concentrate in metro areas. And, like the nation, exports grew in the nation’s metro areas, although export intensity remains below its 2013 peak of 11.5% at 10%. Three-quarters of the nation’s 381 metro areas experienced positive export growth in 2017, including 77 of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas.”

Energy-intensive metropolitan areas expanded exports in 2017 at the fastest rate, including New Orleans (12.5% annual export growth), Houston (9.6% ), and Baton Rouge (6.2 percent). Each of those metro areas are among the most export-intensive in the nation.”

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