A survey of small business executives found that 84% consider expanded trade a “good thing.' (Photo: FedEx Corp.)

Small business survey finds growing support for expanded trade

May 15, 2017
FedEx says results highlight importance of global supply chains to U.S. workers.

Eight in 10 small business leaders believe expanding trade between the United States and other countries will improve the overall U.S. economy, up from 71% a year ago, according to the results of FedEx Corp.’s second annual survey on trade.

An even higher percentage, 84%, classified expanded trade as a “good thing.”

“These results show even more American small business leaders support expanding trade than last year,” Raj Subramaniam, FedEx’s chief marketing and communications officer, said in a statement last week. “One thing is certain - small business leaders continue to view the growth of global supply chains and trade as beneficial to American workers.”

Morning Consult conducted the survey of 1,592 small business executives during March. Another finding was that almost 90% said the U.S. should do a better job of retraining its workforce to meet modern needs.

“Retraining U.S. workers is a critical part of keeping the American economy expanding and competitive in global markets,” said FedEx's Subramaniam.

The survey’s results mimic FedEx’s own position on trade. Chairman and CEO Fred Smith has been a vocal proponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

He previously said the possible withdrawal from NAFTA ”would be catastrophic for the U.S. economy” and that the Asia-Pacific region “holds immense promise for U.S. exporters and their employees here in the United States.”

President Trump has announced plans to re-negotiate some of NAFTA's terms, and signed an executive order in January removing the nation from the TPP.

Even without the U.S., the other 11 countries involved in the TPP are continuing discussions.

Officials with Japan, the largest nation in the pact, said they hope the deal be finalized by the end of the year, and could provide a pathway for the U.S. to join at a later date.

Other nations, such as New Zealand, have backed the deal, but only with the U.S. included, adding another wrinkle to the negotiations.

About the Author

Neil Abt

Neil Abt, editorial director at Fleet Owner, is a veteran journalist with over 20 years of reporting experience, including 15 years spent covering the trucking industry. A graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., he began his career covering sports for The Washington Post newspaper, followed by a position in the newsroom of America Online (AOL) and then both reporting and leadership roles at Transport Topics. Abt is based out of Portland, Oregon.

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