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Weekly Trade Spotlight: Trade in Pennsylvania

U.S. trade policy helps to create and increase export opportunities for American companies in the global marketplace and support well-paying jobs for Americans, including right here in Pennsylvania. In this week’s Trade Spotlight, is highlighting various export industries—from manufacturing in Pittsburgh to dairy farming in Lancaster County—that support jobs in the Keystone State.

Framed by the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers, the bountiful region known as “Fort Pitt” became a natural trading center even before American independence. Today, Pittsburgh is a bustling metropolitan area, exporting $11.3 billion in goods in 2008.

On Friday, July 30, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk will return to the Pittsburgh area to speak to manufacturing workers about how the Obama Administration has stepped up enforcement of U.S. trade agreements in support of American workers. Ambassador Kirk will speak to workers after touring Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (ATI)’s plant in Washington, Pennsylvania.

ATI is a leading manufacturer of specialty metals headquartered in Pittsburgh. With 8,600 employees worldwide, ATI’s business covers growing global markets across industries ranging from aerospace and infrastructure to clean energy production and efficient electric distribution.

Companies like ATI are helping to grow the Keystone State’s manufacturing sector. In fact, Pennsylvania’s exports of manufactured products increased by 47 percent between 2000 and 2009. Those increased exports support good manufacturing jobs at companies like ATI.

Trade benefits Pennsylvania farmers, too. In 2009, Pennsylvania farmers sold an estimated $1.7 billion worth of agricultural products abroad – including wheat, live animals and red meats, feed grains, and dairy products. Agricultural exports help boost farm prices and income, so Pennsylvania’s exports can support approximately 22,000 jobs both on and off the farm. For example, one Lancaster Country poultry farm has been able to employ 70 people by exporting its organic products to Caribbean countries. By exporting American agricultural goods abroad, Pennsylvania farmers are staying competitive and fostering job growth here at home.

In total, exports support hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania jobs. In 2008, 271,000 jobs were supported by Pennsylvania’s goods exports – and export-supported jobs pay an estimated 13 to 18 percent higher than the national average wage. That is why USTR is committed to increasing export opportunities for Pennsylvania workers and businesses. For example, right now USTR is working to complete the U.S.-Korea trade agreement, which will improve access for American exporters to the Korea market – which is currently our seventh largest goods trading partner and the world’s 14th largest economy. In fact, it is estimated that the U.S.-Korea trade agreement may support as many as 70,000 jobs nationwide. Specifically for Pennsylvania, one half of chemical products, and many other manufactured products produced in Pennsylvania, will have their duties eliminated immediately under the agreement. In addition, duties on major Pennsylvania agricultural products, such as grape juice, wine, what, and many dairy products, will be eliminated immediately as well. Pennsylvania workers, farmers, manufacturers, and service providers all can gain from the U.S.-Korea trade agreement and other market-opening efforts we’re working on here at USTR.