There is broad agreement that international trade delivers benefits to consumers and to companies and is even good for creating jobs in the United States.
As part of its Foreign Policy for the Middle Class, the Biden administration has intimated that a rethink of American trade policy is in order. As the US economy has become increasingly globalized, administration officials say the benefits of globalization have failed to reach the American public more broadly. But the 2021 Chicago Council Survey shows majorities say international trade is good for the United States and good for them personally, and support participating in free trade agreements.
- Two in three Americans (68%) say globalization is mostly good for the United States.
- Three-quarters (75%) think international trade is good for the US economy, and 82 percent say it is good for consumers like them. Six in 10 (60%) think it is good for creating jobs in the United States, and nearly eight in 10 (79%) think international trade is good for their standard of living.
- Six in 10 (62%) think the United States should participate in the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership. And 80 percent say the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement is good for the US economy.
- At the same time, 56 percent say middle class Americans do not benefit very much (44%) or not at all (12%) from US foreign policy. And 57 percent say working-class Americans do not benefit very much (44%) or do not benefit at all (13%).
- In contrast, 94 percent think large companies benefit either a great deal (59%) or a fair amount (34%) from US foreign policy. And 87 percent say wealthy Americans benefit from US foreign policy.
About the Author
Marshall M. Bouton Fellow for Asia Studies
Karl Friedhoff was a Korea Foundation-Mansfield Foundation US-Korea Nexus Scholar and a member of the Mansfield Foundation’s Trilateral Working Group prior to joining the Council. Previously, he was a program officer in the Public Opinion Studies Program at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies based in Seoul, South Korea.