Promote Exports, Fair Trade, and International Tourism

Expanding exports will help cities grow their economies and increase jobs. Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States, and trade supports 41 million jobs. Modernizing trade agreements to create a level playing field by lowering tariffs on U.S.-made goods and promoting universal adoption and enforcement of high labor and environmental standards will help American businesses sell products in expanding global markets.

U.S. metro areas play a critical role in American exports, accounting for nearly 90 percent of U.S. goods sold abroad and providing key infrastructure such as ports and intermodal facilities to efficiently move goods. Port- and export-related jobs have 15-18 percent higher wage levels and therefore contribute to building a sound middle class. Federal programs that assist small and medium-size businesses in exporting are crucial to balanced growth. Congress must reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, which helps American businesses sell goods overseas and keeps U.S. exports competitive.

Canada and Mexico are America’s top two export markets. The renegotiation of our trading relationship with our North American partners must include: Mexican Labor Law reform; the elimination of special protections for pharmaceutical companies; strengthening environmental standards; and curtailing the use of Investor-State-Dispute- Resolution to demand taxpayer compensation for domestic environmental and health policies. Once these concerns are addressed, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) should be considered by Congress to ensure America’s economic future.

International travelers to the United States stay longer and spend more than domestic travelers. In 2018, almost 80 million international visitors travelled to the United States, spending more than $156 billion. International travel accounted for over 1.2 million jobs and over $23 billion in tax revenues. International travelers also help support artistic performances and cultural attractions in the United States.

Therefore, mayors call on the President and Congress to:

  • Strengthen the Labor and Environmental provisions of the USMCA.
  • Support high-standard trade deals with enforceable labor and environmental standards.
  • Expand national programs to help small- and medium-sized businesses export goods overseas.
  • Support the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
  • Support expanding the Visa Waiver Program to facilitate travel and trade.
  • Support expanding national arts and cultural programs that support international travel.


Focused on: Infrastructure, Innovation, & Inclusion