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Top U.S. Trade Official Meets with Farmers, Iowa State Fair-Goers, Business Leaders, and Elected Officials to Discuss Obama Administration Efforts to Grow the Middle Class Through Trade
Des Moines, Iowa – On the heels of keynoting the White House “Made in Rural America Regional Forum” in Mount Vernon, Iowa, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman brought President Obama’s message of unlocking economic opportunity through Made-in-America exports to Des Moines.
Ambassador Froman held events with a diverse range of Iowans – including family farmers, Iowa State Fair-goers, business leaders, and elected officials – who represent the many ways that selling Made-in-America exports benefit the local economy, and who exemplify how President Obama’s historic trade agenda will increase those benefits and strengthen the American Middle Class.
This morning, Ambassador Froman visited the Kimberley Family Farm, where the Kimberleys raise corn and soybeans on roughly 4,000 acres of land. Once harvested, much of the Kimberleys’ crops are exported, often to Asian markets, which grows the Iowa economy.
Afterward, Ambassador Froman toured the new Molecular Advancement Center at Kemin Industries, Inc., a high-tech Des Moines business that manufactures more than 500 specialty ingredients for the food, feed, pharmaceutical and beauty industries which are exported all over the world.
At the Iowa State Fair, Ambassador Froman had lunch with U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley at the Iowa Pork Tent to sample some of the pork that Iowa farmers work hard every day of the year to raise and export to international customers.
Ambassador Froman and Senator Grassley also toured the Agriculture Building and held a roundtable with Iowa farmers, ranchers, and state and local agriculture leaders to hear their input on how America’s trade policy can benefit the state’s agricultural community.
Later in the afternoon, Ambassador Froman joined Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds for the Governor’s Charity Steer Show, hosted by the Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen's Association. Beef is another major export for Iowa farmers, and a significant source of economic prosperity for the state.
Each of these meetings and events illustrate the importance of exporting to the Iowa economy.
“The driving purpose of President Obama’s economic strategy is to expand opportunity for all Americans. A significant aspect of that is to unlock opportunity by helping to sell more Made-in-America exports all across the world. Trade has been essential to our economic recovery, and it delivers extraordinary benefits to Iowa as one of the largest agricultural exporters in the United States. Thanks to the hard work of Americans like the folks I met with in Des Moines today – farmers, ranchers, workers, small business owners – U.S. exports are hitting record highs and supporting tens of thousands of jobs in Iowa. To build on that progress, the Obama Administration is working around the clock to complete the most ambitious, far-reaching, cutting-edge trade agenda in history, which will give the U.S. premium access to 2/3 of the world economy, paving the way for more jobs supported by Made-in-America exports here in Iowa,” Ambassador Froman said.
Iowa is the 2nd largest exporter of agricultural products in the United States. In 2013, Iowan goods exports were $13.9 billion – an increase of 165% from 2003.
At the heart of the Obama Administration’s trade agenda are the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which will give the United States premium access to the fast-growing economies of the Asia-Pacific, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), which will greatly enhance America’s trade relationship with the European Union.
These agreements will unlock opportunity for Iowans by removing barriers to Iowa’s four largest export markets: Canada, Mexico, Japan, and the European Union. What’s more, 60% of Iowa’s exports ($8.4 billion) already go to TPP countries. And 16% of Iowa’s exports ($2.2 billion) already go to T-TIP countries. Finalizing both agreements will help Iowa sell more Made-in-America exports across the world and bolster American competitiveness in the global economy.
To view a fact sheet about Iowa, the economic benefits of exporting, and President Obama’s trade agenda, click here.
To view Ambassador Froman’s op-ed in The Des Moines Register, click here.