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U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman Leads White House “Made in Rural America Regional Forum” at Cornell College

August 08, 2014

Chief United States Trade Official discusses the numerous ways President Obama’s exporting agenda will unlock economic opportunity and support jobs for Iowans

Mount Vernon, IowaU.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman today keynoted the White House Rural Council’s “Made in Rural America” Export and Investment Initiative forum at Cornell College, emphasizing President Obama’s commitment to expanding opportunity for rural Americans and detailing how the most significant trade agenda in American history will deliver economic benefits for Iowan farmers and ranchers, businesses, families and workers. 

This forum is part of the White House Rural Council’s Made in Rural America Export and Investment Initiative, which was established earlier this year by President Obama to help rural businesses and leaders take advantage of new investment opportunities and access new markets abroad to generate economic growth and support jobs in their communities. This forum provided business-to-business learning opportunities and federal, state, and local expertise for rural business and community leaders.

“President Obama created the White House Rural Council’s “Made in Rural America” Export and Investment Initiative to spur economic growth, and strengthen the American Middle Class in rural communities across our nation,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. “To help fulfill that mission, the Obama Administration has embarked on the most ambitious, cutting-edge trade agenda in American history.  Today at Cornell College, we are brought together by a shared appreciation for rural America’s importance to the greater U.S. economy and by the economic opportunities that exists outside our borders. The unprecedented trade agreements we’re negotiating with the Asia-Pacific region and the European Union will unlock opportunity for Iowan farmers, businesses, families, and entrepreneurs by knocking down barriers to Iowa’s largest export markets, which will enable you to sell more exports to the world stamped with three proud words: ‘Made in America.’”

Tens of thousands of jobs are supported by Iowan exports.  Iowa is the 2nd largest exporter of agricultural products in the United States, shipping $11.3 billion in agricultural exports 2012 (USDA). 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 hold tremendous promise for rural Americans, and they 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 strengthen Iowa’s ability to sell Made-in-America exports across the world and bolster American competitiveness in the global economy.

Tomorrow, Ambassador Froman will travel to Des Moines, Iowa to meet with farmers, ranchers, business leaders, and elected officials to continue outlining what Iowa stands to gain from President Obama’s trade agenda.

For a fact sheet about Iowa, the economic benefits of exporting, and President Obama’s trade agenda, click here.

About the White House Rural Council

To address challenges in Rural America, build on the Administration's rural economic strategy, and improve the implementation of that strategy, the President signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Rural Council. The Council coordinates the Administration's efforts in rural America by streamlining and improving the effectiveness of federal programs serving rural America; engage stakeholders, including farmers, ranchers, and local citizens, on issues and solutions in rural communities; and promoting and coordinating private-sector partnerships. The work of the White House Rural Council and USDA to bring investment to rural America is an example of how the Administration is creating smart partnerships with the private sector to better support Americans in all parts of the country.