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Ambassador Kirk Addresses the 2010 Agricultural Economic Outlook Forum

Today Ambassador Kirk spoke at the 2010 Agricultural Economic Outlook Forum at the Department of Agriculture. Ambassador Kirk higlighted the importance of agricultural exports and the new National Export Initiative.

Ambassador Kirk and Sec Vilsack

Ambassador Kirk at 2010 Agricultural Outlook Forum

Read an excerpt from the speech below, and the full speech here.

"...But today, international trade is commonplace. Almost anywhere in the world, you can walk into a store and purchase something not just from a nearby town, but from another country - household items, textiles, even food products.

In communities around the world, families rely on food from American ranches and farms thousands of miles away. Busy Mexican mothers make tortillas from American corn. Japanese children munch on American oranges.

And here in America, our supermarket shelves are stocked with wholesome, varied foods year-round, because we are able to import those foods from growers around the world.

The global flow of agricultural goods - from harvesting nations to hungry families - is a valuable slice of international trade. Last calendar year, the United States exported more than $100 billion worth of agricultural products, supporting a $30 billion agricultural trade surplus.

Now, like almost every other kind of trade, agricultural exports have suffered during the global economic downturn. But this year, American agricultural exports are expected to begin to grow again. USTR is committed to supporting that growth.

Here's why: in his State of the Union Address, the President set a goal to support two million new American jobs by doubling American exports in the next five years. And to achieve that goal, the United States must work to increase every kind of export - from goods to services to home-grown agricultural products. Because this country can't afford to leave any jobs on the table."