A new study from Business Roundtable finds that international trade supports 137,500 jobs in Montana, representing more than one out of every five jobs in the state. 

Trade with Canada and Mexico alone supports 40,200 jobs in Montana, highlighting the need to preserve and strengthen the North American trading relationship by passing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) this year. Exports from Montana to Canada and Mexico have increased by 329 percent since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). 

The study also reveals:

—Montana exported $901 million in goods and services to Canada and Mexico in 2017;

—Goods and services exports account for 6.6 percent of Montana’s total GDP; and

—Trade has a positive net impact on both the services and manufacturing sectors across the country.

Other factors revealed about Montana’s international trade also included:

— International trade, including exports and imports, supports 137,500 Montana jobs – more than one in five. These trade related jobs grew three times faster than total employment from 1992 to 2017 and are at large and small companies, on farms, in factories, and at the headquarters of Montana’s globally engaged firms.

— Montana exported $2.1 billion in goods and $1.0 billion in services in 2017, including tobacco products, cattle, cement & concrete products and travel services. Of Montana’s 1,243 exporters, 85 percent are small- and medium-sized companies with less than 500 workers.

— Customers in 138 countries and territories buy Montana-made goods and services, including billions of dollars in annual exports to top markets like Canada, Korea and China. Montana’s exports have grown more than two and a half times faster than state GDP since 2007.

—Imports lower prices and increase choices for Montana companies and families. Lower raw material and input costs help Montana companies stay competitive in global markets, while families can stretch paychecks further as trade agreements reduce the cost of products by eliminating costly barriers to trade.

— Free trade agreements (FTAs) have helped fuel rapid export growth from Montana to partner countries. In2017, $1.2 billion of Montana’s goods exports, or 57 percent, went to FTA partners. This  represents an increase of 74 percent since 2007.

— Foreign-owned companies invest and build facilities and employ 7,200 workers in Montana.