U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman this week wrapped up a several-stop tour of the Midwest to promote the Obama Administration's trade priorities, visiting Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin farm country.
Froman last Friday began his activities with participation in the White House "Made in Rural America" forum, where he explained the Administration's goals in relation to two key trade deals: the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
In a weekend trip to Des Moines, Iowa, Froman addressed the impacts of the agreements on the state, noting that 60% of Iowa’s exports – worth $8.4 billion – already go to TPP countries. About $2.2 billion, or 16% of Iowa’s exports, already go to T-TIP countries.
During his time in Iowa, the ambassador visited a 4,000-acre family farm raising corn and soybeans, the Iowa State Fair, and Kemin Industries, which manufactures 500 specialty ingredients for the food, feed, pharmaceutical and beauty industries.
"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," Froman said.
Following the Iowa stop, Froman moved on to Minnesota, where he met with handmade jewelry manufacturer and exporter Jewelry by Johan. Later, he traveled to Wisconsin, where he met with U.S. Rep. Ron Kind.
The two visited the 400-cow dairy farm of Byron Krueger in Melrose, Wis., and hold a forum with farmers and agriculture community leaders to discuss how Wisconsin may gain from the current U.S. trade agenda.
"As President Obama said in his State of the Union address, his number one priority is to expand opportunity for Americans from all walks of life," Froman said. " Wisconsin is an outstanding example of the contributions that hard-working farmers make to the United States economy by selling their crops and products abroad."
Kind commented that the meeting was an ideal time for Froman to connect with Wisconsin farmers, workers and businesses.
"We currently have a trade surplus in agriculture, manufacturing and services with countries that have trade agreements with the U.S., and Wisconsin's agricultural exports increased by 25% in the first three months of 2014 compared to last year," Kind said.
Wisconsin is the second-largest exporter of dairy in the United States, exporting $724 million worth of dairy products in 2012 – 14% of American total dairy exports.
New source: USTR