PLATTSBURGH — New York jobs rely on trade with the North Country's northern neighbor. 

Business Roundtable recently released a study that said, in 2017, more than one out of every five New York state jobs were supported by international trade, with 799,300 of them supported by Canada and Mexico. 

A fact sheet produced by the Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C., says trade and investments with Canada alone supported 680,900 of those jobs.

Foreign-owned companies, it says, employed some 499,100 New Yorkers, with 52,700 of them by Canada-based companies.

North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas thinks these employment numbers are huge, but said there is even more to this international connection than meets the eye. 

"Our economic partnership with Canada is by far the single greatest driving force in the North Country economy and holds our greatest opportunities for the region's future," he said. 

 

AWAITS CONGRESS

BusinessRoundtable is an association of chief executive officers of America’s leading companies "working to promote a thriving U.S. economy and expanded opportunity for all Americans through sound public policy," its website says.

It presented the study findings as support for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement awaiting approval by Congress. 

Created under President Donald Trump, is a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1992. 

Trump, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto worked to create the revamped plan.

All three signed it last September.

 

SUPPORTS NEW PLAN 

The study released by Business Roundtable was prepared by Trade Partnership Worldwide using data from 2017. 

"It also compared 2017 data to pre-NAFTA data from 1992," the press release said. "The study found that trade-supported jobs in New York increased by 94 percent from 1992, when NAFTA was implemented, to 2017 — five times faster than total employment."

Chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc. and Chair of the Business Roundtable Trade & International Committee Tom Linebarger said the CEO members of Business Roundtable were therefore in favor of the new legislation. 

"We stand united to preserve and modernize North American trade, which supports over 12 million jobs and a strong U.S. economy," he said in the release. 

 

 

The RoundTable study names Canada a hefty New York trade partner, as well. 

Over 9 percent of the state's 2017 total gross domestic product was accounted for by exported goods, the report says.

That year, the Empire State exported some $62 billion in goods and $85.7 billion in services to 215 countries and territories; $16.6 billion of those went to Canada. 

Top New York exports included miscellaneous manufactured commodities; apparel accessories; clay and refractory products; and footwear, the report says.

"New York is America’s 31st largest exporter of agricultural products," the report continues.

"It is the fifth-largest exporter of poultry and eggs, the seventh-largest exporter of miscellaneous animal products, the eighth-largest exporter of cattle and the 10th-largest exporter of fruits and tree nuts."

 

UNDERSTATED 

In 2017, $1.3 trillion of products were imported to the United States, the RoundTable report says. 

Of that, $17 billion of goods were imported to New York from Canada alone, the Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C., fact sheet says. 

"Imports help keep prices down for New York families while increasing their choices for goods and services," the Business Roundtable report says. 

"Trade and investment liberalization policies save the average New York family of four more than $10,000 per year."

According to that study's data, from 2007 to 2017 the costs of televisions, computers and toys decreased by 87.9 percent, 63.3 percent and 44.7 percent, respectively. 

But the reason for that isn't a negative one, Douglas said.

"We in the North Country know that these large numbers actually understate the positive relationship as the U.S. and Canada have moved into a post-trade relationship, within which we make things together versus sending completed goods in boxes to one another," he said. 

"By making things together, we jointly enhance our competitiveness with China and the world in a way we cannot do separately."

 

BEYOND TRADE

Douglas also said trade numbers, though substantial, cannot account for the impact of Canadian-based companies that manufacture in the United States. 

"Nor the full economic benefits of secure, proximate energy from a neighboring ally to fuel our productivity," he continued. 

"Nor the substantial purchase by Canadian companies of professional services of all kinds from Plattsburgh's uniquely specialized service providers."

 

Email McKenzie Delisle:

mdelisle@pressrepublican.com

Twitter: @McKenzieDelisle

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