North Carolina: Prospering from Trade

Drew Ringley /


North Carolina’s congressional delegation has been among the most protectionist in the country. This is odd, considering that record levels of trade are creating well-paid jobs for many citizens of the state.

North Carolina merchandise exports rose to nearly $29 billion in 2012, up 6 percent over the prior year and setting an export record for the state, according to a recent report by the International Trade Administration. Businesses in North Carolina are engaging international markets, and exports are reaching record levels, creating jobs and increasing economic prosperity.

The benefits don’t just come from exports. Other forms of international activity also increase economic prosperity. Nearly 200,000 people in North Carolina owe their jobs to foreign direct investment, 40,000 people work at the state’s ports, and 530,000 people work in retail where foreign goods are sold.

With news of record-high North Carolina exports, now would be a good time for the state’s congressional delegation to learn from its past mistakes and start supporting free trade.

Drew Ringley is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please click here.