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President George W. Bush Credits Free Trade Across North America as Key to Economic Advantage

November 15, 2016
Today, President George W. Bush spoke about the strengths of the U.S. economy at the 2016 North American Strategy for Competitiveness (NASCO) Continental Reunion at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. President Bush noted that the economic growth in the U.S. needs to be stronger and cited trade with Canada and Mexico as beneficial to all.

Dallas (TX) – Today, President George W. Bush spoke about the strengths of the U.S. economy at the 2016 North American Strategy for Competitiveness (NASCO) Continental Reunion at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.  President Bush noted that the economic growth in the U.S. needs to be stronger and cited trade with Canada and Mexico as beneficial to all.

“How do we make sure that our country is economically competitive in the world and that Americans are able to get a good job at a good wage?  By making sure that the environment is right for investment and the environment is right for the growth of small businesses,” said President Bush.  “It’s really important for the American citizen to understand that it’s the small business person who benefits from trade, and the entrepreneur benefits when he or she is able to find new markets.”

The Bush Institute’s Director of Economic Growth, Matthew Rooney, followed President Bush’s remarks by announcing key policy recommendations aimed at growing the North American economy.  Over the past year, Rooney and a working group of international experts, private sector representatives, and diplomats developed the recommendations to underscore that North America continues to be the world’s most competitive economic region.  The group points to the removal of barriers to trade and investment throughout North America as an important factor that enables businesses to create more productive supply chains and manufacturing platforms. 

Presently, the jobs of 2.8 million Americans are dependent upon the U.S.’ trade relationship with its North American neighbors.  Trade increases the number and variety of lower priced goods available for middle class consumers. Workers in trade-intensive industries are paid 18 percent more than comparable workers.

“We believe that the core challenge for North America is productivity,” said Rooney.  “It has grown too slowly and has failed to support rising incomes.  In response to this, we have two basic strategies for boosting productivity.  The first enhances the skill base of our workforce, and the second is a joint mechanism to promote market-driven development of cross-border road and rail infrastructure.” 

Rooney also presented the Bush Institute’s new Economic Integration tool, which analyzes the growth of trade and investment among the North American nations as well as an updated Bush Institute Scorecard, which debuted new scores for international economies. 

Video of this event can be found here.  A transcript of President Bush's remarks can be found here.  For more information on the North America Competitiveness Initiative or the Scorecard, please visit http://www.bushcenter.org/scorecard/ or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Instagram.  

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About the Bush Institute:

Housed within the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the George W. Bush Institute is an action-oriented, nonpartisan policy organization with the mission of developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges. The work is achieved through three Impact Centers – Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and our Engagement Agenda – by which the Bush Institute engages the greater community with its important work.