International trade is increasingly important to America’s economy and to the producers, such as farmers and ranchers, who rely on new markets for their products. Opening new markets to American exports should be paired with enforcing our existing trade laws and strengthening them when necessary to ensure that our trading partners are playing by the rules. Fortunately, trade is an area where there has historically been bipartisan cooperation, something demonstrated earlier this year with the passage of Trade Promotion Authority, often called TPA. In the Senate, 13 Democrats joined the large majority of Republicans in supporting a measure to give future presidents the ability to negotiate trade deals that will open new markets to American products and treat American entrepreneurs more fairly when they do business in foreign markets.
Our entrepreneurs and business owners need access to the more than 95 percent of the world population beyond our borders. Economists estimate that every $1 billion in additional U.S. exports create roughly 5,000 good-paying American jobs. American exports supported 11.7 million jobs in 2014, an increase of 1.8 million jobs since 2009.
Simply put, America can’t afford to stand still on trade while other nations are signing new deals to benefit their farmers and manufacturers to the detriment of American producers. This is especially the case in South Dakota, considering that we exported $3.8 billion worth of agricultural products in 2013. Our state may be small in population but we are prolific in production, ranking among the top 10 states in the export of corn, wheat, cattle, soybeans and hay. As our farmers, ranchers and manufacturers become even more productive we are going to need to continue to open up new markets around the world to our products, which is where TPA comes into play.
Now that TPA is in place we are seeing progress in our trade negotiations as other nations know that America is back in the game when it comes to trade. Congress will closely scrutinize any trade deal negotiated by this Administration and Congress always retains the power to reject a deal if we think it is not good enough. I’m hopeful that we will see new trade deals that continue to open markets to our products and that give American producers the ability to compete on a level playing field.
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