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Increased Agricultural Exports Help Support American Jobs

This afternoon, Ambassador Kirk addressed members of the agricultural community at the annual public policy conference of the American Farm Bureau Federation. During the meeting, Ambassador Kirk focused on USTR’s work to increase market access for U.S. agricultural products and the importance of exports in supporting American jobs, both on and off the farm.

Ambassador Kirk at the American Farm Bureau Federation
Ambassador Kirk at the American Farm Bureau Federation

In his remarks, Ambassador Kirk highlighted the opportunity for increased agricultural exports through the passage of the pending trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. For example, South Korea is the fifth largest market for U.S. agricultural product exports – South Korea consumers bought more than $5 billion of “Grown in America” products in 2010.

Ambassador Kirk also gave an update on the negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) currently taking place in Vietnam. TPP countries import almost $5 billion of U.S. agricultural goods yearly, an amount that is sure to grow. Ambassador Kirk noted how increases in agricultural exports are helping to achieve President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double total U.S. exports by 2014.

Last year, agricultural goods accounted for $201 billion in total two-way trade of farm products, and agricultural exports supported more than 950,000 jobs on and off the farm. During that year, soybeans, coarse grains, red meats, wheat, and cotton were the top five agricultural export categories.