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Iowa Gov. Branstad joins others to push for trade agreements

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013 10:42 a.m. CDT

DES MOINES (MCT) – Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has joined 14 other governors in a bipartisan letter urging President Obama and Congress to make progress on three trade agreements that potentially could open foreign markets to U.S. exports and to encourage more foreign investment in this country.

“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 Monday.

“Trade helps drive economic growth through high-paying jobs for American workers and increased opportunities for American businesses and agricultural producers,” he added.

The letter was endorsed by a bipartisan group of governors because state leaders understand the importance of opening foreign markets to empower U.S. businesses, workers and farm producers to compete effectively in the global economy, according to a statement from Branstad’s office.

Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, said international trade helps grow the Iowa and U.S. economy. For instance, Iowa exported over $14.6 billion worth of goods to countries around the world in 2012.

Also, Iowa exports grew by almost 10 percent from 2011 to 2012, compared to national export growth of just 4.5 percent. More than 2,500 companies in Iowa export products around the world and U.S. Department of Commerce estimates and export statistics indicate Iowa’s exporting companies supported about 73,000 jobs in 2012.

The recent bipartisan agreement between congressional committee leaders on Trade Promotion Authority is a positive step for removing governmental hurdles to private sector trade, according to Branstad’s office. Movement on the trade agreements would help enable Iowa’s agricultural producers and manufacturers to compete on a level playing field, the statement added.

“Iowa agriculture has seen tremendous benefits from free trade and there is potential for even more growth if these trade agreements are finalized,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. “Our farmers do an amazing job producing safe, affordable food and what they need is fair access to additional markets.”

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©2013 The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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