Expanded export opportunities are essential for agriculture’s continued growth. What are your views on enforcing existing trade agreements and pursuing new trading opportunities for the United States?
I have expanded markets for American goods that help support over a million agriculture jobs here at home. In 2011, American farm income reached a record high, with a record number of agricultural exports and a record agriculture trade surplus that means more of our products are being sold in markets around the world. I signed three historic trade agreements with Panama, Columbia, and South Korea, which will increase exports by $2.3 billion – supporting nearly 20,000 American jobs. And I am working to expand local and regional food markets, a multi-billion dollar industry. We’ve increased the number of farmers markets by 53% since 2008. Through these policies, we are expanding markets for American goods abroad and at home.
As the United States is the largest agricultural exporter in the world, I understand that agricultural trade is incredibly important to our economy and to job creation in our country. A thriving agriculture sector is a key to getting our economy going again. We must continue to encourage this sector to grow, not stifle its success with ineffective trade policies that linger in bureaucracy and do not advance our economic interests. As president, I will work to promote multilateral trade agreements and reverse the course of the Obama Administration, which has only enacted three trade agreements – all initiated in the Bush Administration. As president, I will work with Congress to gain Trade Promotion Authority in order to facilitate the negotiation and completion of trade agreements. I will also stress that the World Trade Organization should reassert itself in order to resolve and restrict non-science-based trade restrictions prohibited by the overriding agreements, and I will value the important roles of the USDA and USTR as they provide focused attention and resources important to agricultural trade issues.