Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently visited the Port of Long Beach in California and spoke about the importance of sustaining the record-breaking productivity of America’s farmers and ranchers with increased export opportunities and smart trade deals, including the new Korean Trade Agreement, which needs congressional ratification.
Vilsack underscored how President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI), a program intended to coordinate federal efforts to double U.S. exports by 2014 and create several million new jobs, is providing support to businesses big and small to reach more of the world’s consumers – 95 percent of whom live outside the borders of the United States. Strong trade will be a key contributor to building an economy that continues to grow, innovate and out-compete the rest of the world.
“The Obama Administration is focused on stimulating growth, creating jobs and setting in place a framework for a robust future for the American economy,” says Vilsack.
Important Trade Agreement
Vilsack was joined in Long Beach by Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster and California agriculture leaders. Economic output is estimated to grow more under the U.S.-Korea agreement than from the United States’ last nine trade agreements combined.
That type of growth would bring additional jobs to seaports like Los Angeles and Long Beach, the first- and second-busiest seaports in the country. Annually, more than $140 billion of trade moves through the Port of Long Beach. Additionally, the Port supports more than 30,000 jobs in Long Beach, 316,000 jobs throughout southern California and 1.4 million jobs throughout the United States, according to Port officials.
Vilsack discussed how the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement, which needs congressional ratification, will add tens of thousands of jobs to the U.S. economy, especially in major agriculture-producing states like California. The U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement would eliminate tariffs on a variety of American goods – including agricultural products like grains, fruits and vegetables and beef – while adding thousands of jobs to the U.S. economy.
Exports Look Promising
Exports of U.S. farm goods in fiscal year 2011 (Oct. 1, 2010 – Sept. 30, 2011) are projected to surpass previous records by $20 billion. The agricultural trade balance – a balance of U.S. exports versus foreign imports – is also projected to set a record surplus of $47.5 billion in 2011.
Vilsack noted that every $1 billion in farm exports supports roughly 8,400 U.S. jobs, and that farm exports will support more than 1.1 million jobs.
USDA provided information and data for this article.
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