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Governors launch pro-trade initiative

By Staff | Jan 10, 2014

International trade is crucial to economic growth both in Iowa and in many other parts of the United States. That’s why Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has partnered with 15 American governors to urge President Obama and leaders in Congress to move ahead quickly to finalize three important trade agreements.

The bipartisan group includes 12 Republicans, two Democrats and one Independent. They have co-written a letter that emphasizes how important sensible trade agreements are to economic progress and the prosperity of the residents of the regions they serve.

A key section of the letter encapsulates that point:

“These robust international trade agreements will enhance and expand economic partnerships and diplomatic relationships between the United States and participating countries. Reductions in trade barriers and increased market access allows our businesses, work force, agricultural producers and service sectors to compete on a more level playing field to help drive economic growth and increase family incomes.”

In explaining why it is important to Iowans that he participate in this effort, Branstad released just before Christmas details on how international trade is benefiting the Hawkeye State. Here are some of the highlights:

1). In 2012, Iowa exported more than $14.6 billion worth of goods to countries around the world.

2). From 2011 to 2012, Iowa exports grew by almost 10 percent, compared to national export growth of just 4.5 percent.

3). More than 2,500 companies in Iowa export products around the world.

4). Iowa’s farmers and agribusinesses rely on international trading agreements to open the door for Iowa’s grain and meat products.

5). Based on U.S. Department of Commerce estimates and export statistics, Iowa’s exporting companies supported approximately 73,000 jobs in 2012.

“With an increasingly competitive global economy, it is important for President Obama and Congress to break down barriers to international trade,” Branstad said in a statement released Dec. 23. “Trade helps drive economic growth through high-paying jobs for American workers and increased opportunities for American businesses and agricultural producers.”

Farm News applauds the governor for joining in this bipartisan effort to get policymakers in the nation’s capital to finish work on these crucial trade agreements with no further delay.

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