Manufacturing remains the lifeblood of the Ohio economy, and we’ve been blessed with a resurgence in recent years. But as always, manufacturing of goods here remains closely tied to international trade. That is why we cannot take this expansion for granted, especially when the fastest growing market — Asia — is making plans to move on without the United States.

More than 1.5 million jobs in Ohio are tied to trade. That’s more than one out of every five, and enough folks to fill FirstEnergy Stadium 20 times over!

Altogether, Ohio sends $66.2 billion of goods and services around the globe each year. Four out of the five top export categories are manufactured goods — automobiles, aerospace equipment, heavy machinery and parts. Around the clock, in every corner of the state, Ohioans are building the products that the globe depends on.

Consistent engagement with the Indo-Pacific region will ensure that Buckeye-made goods can continue to enjoy unrestricted access to one of the largest markets in the world, home to much of the 95 percent of the world that does not live in America but accounts for 80 percent of global spending.

International trade is providing double the benefit to Ohio. Since 2000, global manufacturing exports from Ohio have increased 79 percent. When you look at some of the largest economies in Asia, Ohio exports have increased by 400 percent to India, 122 percent to South Korea, and 89 percent to Singapore.

Free-trade skeptics like to bash China, and with good reason, but even the Chinese cannot get enough of Ohio-made goods. Exports to China increased nearly 800 percent since 2000.

At the same time, we are attracting more investment than ever. Since 2010, foreign companies have increased their employment by 23 percent, accounting for more than 250,000 jobs. Japan, in particular, continues to invest heavily in Ohio, providing thousands of good paying jobs at facilities across the state, and remains the largest source of global capital in Ohio.

With all of this good news, now is not the time for America to cede ground — but that is exactly what is happening. If it continues, the consequences for Ohio manufacturers are dire. As Asia moves on trade without the United States at the table, we risk being unable to prevent the establishment of barriers to our goods and services.

If it costs more to make goods here in the United States, or if our goods face taxes at the borders of other nations, we become less competitive, a less attractive destination for investment and will start losing jobs instead of gaining them.

Instead, despite the challenges, the United States should remain committed to global trade. U.S. participation in regional trade deals would further open markets to U.S. products and services to Asia’s large and growing markets, attract more foreign direct investment and create more high-paying jobs here in the U.S.

Wagner is the president of Wagner Machine and president of the Akron chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association.