The Strait of Gibraltar is the Key Bottleneck for Trade Between the U.S. and Europe

As Dollar Strengthens, U.S. Students in Europe Feel the Benefits

For centuries, the Atlantic has been the world’s main trade route, but over the last decade, the Strait of Gibraltar has become a key choke point for the flow of trade between the U.S. and Europe. In a decade, trade between the two nations has nearly quadrupled.

In the beginning, the Strait of Gibraltar was a choke point between the U.S. and Europe. For centuries, Americans and Europeans traded with each other through the small, western-facing town of Cartagena on the western coast of Spain. But over the last decade, American exports to Europe have become more reliant on the Strait of Gibraltar, which is now the key bottleneck.

Today, Americans’ shipments through the Gibraltar Strait to Europe account for the lion’s share of U.S. imports into Europe (about 20 percent) and almost a third of U.S. exports to Europe (about 33 percent).

But in the decade that the Strait of Gibraltar has become the key point of convergence between Europe and America, the U.S. economy will have to invest in a new infrastructure over that area, and American students and graduate students in Europe are having to cope with the potential for a prolonged period of “brain drain” in the U.S., which could have serious implications for their education, their careers and the future growth of the U.S. economy.

Dollar Strengthens

The American economy in the decade ahead will increasingly rely on trade with other countries, and one of the fastest growing markets for American exports is the European Union. Last year, U.S. trade with the European Union alone was $1.7 trillion, a nearly 60 percent increase over the previous decade and an increase of about $500 billion (pdf). It’s projected to reach $2.4 trillion by the end of this decade.

American students and graduate students (including those on graduate and postdoctoral fellows) who are working in the

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