Free Trade Fact of the Day

Conn Carroll /

With voters voting in Indiana today, the Wall Street Journal identifies some facts to counter protectionist Democrat rhetoric on the campaign trail from the U.S.-China Business Council’s study on U.S. exports to China. They write:

The study tracks exports from each Congressional district to China. Between 2000 and 2007, 406 of 426 House districts clocked triple-digit export growth to the mainland. Note that the bulk were manufactured goods: Electrical equipment and machinery, power generation equipment, and aircraft are America’s top three export categories to China in dollar terms. In services, the U.S. ran a $3.7 billion trade surplus with China in 2006, the latest year for which data are available.

Take Indiana’s first district, home of the Magnaquench factory in Valparaiso, whose 2005 closing has Senator Clinton so ruffled. Between 2000 and 2007, the first district’s exports to China increased 307%, compared with a 65% increase for exports to the rest of the world. That amounted to $74 million last year.

Trade with China, like trade with any country, will at times lead to closed factories and displaced workers. But these latest data are a reminder that trade creates new opportunities, too. Rather than ratcheting up the antitrade and anti-China rhetoric, the presidential candidates would do better focusing on helping Americans seize the opportunities of trade. Pro-growth tax and regulatory policies would make a good start.