From the time when New England timber built the British navy and Salem boys sailed ginseng root to China and returned as wealthy men, New England’s growth has been tightly linked with international trade. The ties are no less compelling today. Trade raises living standards by promoting the efficient use of resources and encouraging the adoption of new technologies and productivity improvements. New England is a region that specializes in new technologies, a region with limited natural resources, and trade is essential to its future well-being. However, like technological change, increased trade can hurt some individuals, particularly the low-skilled, and their communities, at least in the short run. Understandably, fear of increased foreign competition spurs resistance to more open trade policies, like the creation and broadening of the NAFTA, even though, over the long run, such developments hold the promise of increasing incomes in New England, in the United States, and in our trading partners. There is no doubt freer trade can cause hardships, but their remedy lies not in espousing protectionism, but in adequately preparing New England’s work force for a rapidly changing global economy.
Complete Report (5.6MB)
Trade and Growth in New England (2.5MB)
by Cathy E. Minehan with Jane S. Little