Rural India, with a rapidly growing middle class, illustrates this trend. As reported recently in the Washington Post, the 740 million residents of rural India now enjoy almost 75% coverage of all-weather roads, with average incomes expected to rise almost 30% in the next five years. According to the National Council for Applied Economic Research, compared with urban metropolises like Mumbai, rural India accounted for about 22 percent of computers sold, 29 percent of refrigerators, 32 percent of cars and 46 percent of televisions, with those numbers expected to continue to grow rapidly.
In today’s global marketplace, these are the consumers of the future. Business leaders agree and have urged support for a strong and effective International Affairs Budget as a means for growing U.S. exports: “Over the past 40 years, trade has tripled as a share of our national economy. Today, 1 out of 5 American jobs are tied to international trade. America’s fastest growing markets –representing roughly half of U.S. exports – are developing countries.”
The International Affairs Budget helps American business compete in the global economy. Whether programs like the US Trade and Development Agency and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation that help U.S. companies enter new markets or the diplomatic corps in embassies around the world who help facilitate relationships for U.S. business abroad, the International Affairs Budget is an investment in future U.S. economic prosperity.