Grassley Seeks New Markets for Iowa Exports
Iowa Senator Builds Support for Tools to Help President Negotiate Trade Agreements
WASHINGTON — Sen. Chuck Grassley continued building support for trade promotion
authority by hosting an event on Capitol Hill today with the Secretary of Agriculture, a bipartisan
group of congressional leaders, and representatives from national farm organizations.
“The best way for the United States to secure its position at the next round of global trade
talks scheduled for November is to grant the President trade promotion authority,” Grassley said.
“Without this green light from Congress, the United States will be idling indefinitely. It’s time to
give the President the tools he needs to negotiate trade agreements that open new markets for
Grassley made the case for trade promotion authority in front of one of the American-made
products that are ripe for greater export, a John Deere tractor made in Waterloo, Iowa, and set
alongside the U.S. Capitol today. Grassley said with lower tariffs and greater access to foreign
markets, more of these tractors could be sold around the world, creating jobs at home that pay more
than the average.
Along with Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, senators and representatives from farm
states urged Congressional action on trade promotion authority. Glenn Keppy, of Scott County,
Iowa, presented a letter from the National Pork Producers Council urging action on legislation this
The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to broker matters of international trade. But
with 535 members, it is virtually impossible to hammer out an agreement that would satisfy each and
every member down to the last detail. Trade promotion authority retains Congress’ right to accept
or reject trade agreements without making changes to the proposal. Since 1994, when the policy
then known as fast-track trading authority expired, the clock has been ticking on this issue.
“The United States stands at a crossroads. Do we want to spring forward and compete for
new market opportunities? Or do we fall backward and lag behind our trading partners?” Grassley
said. A strong advocate for free and fair trade, Grassley said he wants to see “the U.S. restore its
position as a leader in matters of international trade. Without trade promotion authority, we take a
backseat while other countries forge ahead with strategic trade pacts that leave American farmers,
workers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners at a competitive disadvantage,” he said.
U.S. exports support more than 12 million American jobs. More than one-third of U.S.
agriculture production was exported in 1998, at a value of over $52 billion. The U.S. leads the world
in trade in services with over $264 billion in exports annually.
In Iowa, exports provide more than 86,000 jobs. Iowa exports a wide range of products to
154 countries and ranks second in the nation for agricultural exports. One-third of an Iowa farmer’s
income comes from exports sales.
“Expanding commercial ties with the world community helps keep the U.S. economy
growing. That means increased farm income and bigger paychecks and better job opportunities for
American workers,” Grassley said. “Stronger commercial ties also spread both prosperity and peace
to nations around the world who are less fortunate than ours.”
Grassley began his campaign for trade promotion authority last week, when he and other
agricultural leaders joined President Bush at a White House event to rally for Congressional action.
Grassley also participated in two days of Senate Finance Committee hearings on the significance of
trade promotion authority. On Thursday, the committee considered the nomination of Allen F.
Johnson to be the special agricultural negotiator for the office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
Johnson is originally from Long Grove, Iowa.
Grassley serves as Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, which is responsible for
international trade legislation.
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