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Public Views of FTA Impacts Improving Ahead of U.S. Pacts with Europe and Asia-Pacific

Monday, June 01, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

U.S. efforts to conclude and implement free trade agreements with the European Union and nearly a dozen nations around the Pacific Rim could be bolstered by a recent study finding an increasingly favorable public view of the economic and financial impact of FTAs. A recent survey of 2,002 adults conducted by the Pew Research Center found that a majority believe FTAs are good for the U.S. and that a smaller but growing percentage think FTAs have had a positive impact on their personal finances. However, many still believe that FTAs lead to lower wage and job losses.

Highlights of the report’s findings include the following.

- 58 percent of respondents say FTAs have been good for the U.S., up from 48 percent in 2011, while 33 percent say they have not

- 31 percent say FTAs lead to economic growth (up from 19 percent in 2010) and 34 percent think FTAs slow the economy down (down from 43 percent)

- 43 percent say their family’s finances have been helped by FTAs (up from 26 percent in 2010) while 36 percent say they have been hurt (down from 46 percent); this shift is most pronounced among more educated and higher income Americans as well as those who have positive opinions of their own personal financial situations

- 46 percent say FTAs lower U.S. workers’ wages while 11 percent say they lead to higher wages

- 46 percent say FTAs lead to domestic job losses (down from 55 percent in 2010) and 17 percent said they create jobs (up from 8 percent)

- 36 percent say FTAs lower prices in the U.S. (up from 31 percent in 2010) and 30 percent say they increase prices

- there are few differences in overall views of FTAs by education, income or party

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