Soybean farmers have developed valuable trading partners in every corner of the globe. American soy and products like pork and poultry that use soy inputs help to make soy the nation’s largest and most valuable agricultural export. Soybean exports to China last year neared $11 billion, and recent trade developments in Russia have further opened the world’s ninth largest economy to American soy. Trade agreements like those recently struck with Colombia, Panama and South Korea enable American farmers to stay competitive in the global marketplace, and agricultural trade helps to sustain more than one million jobs here at home. How will your administration maintain the progress made by these agreements and broaden our trade horizons through agreements with new trading partners?
I believe that America can compete and win in the global marketplace. Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside of our borders – and I want to see them buying products with three proud words “Made In America” stamped on them. That’s why I set the ambitious goal of doubling our exports by 2015, a goal that we are on track to meet. The United States currently has a trade surplus in agriculture of more than $42 billion. This is something to be proud of, and is an area that we need to continue to expand. That is why I signed free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, marking the biggest step forward in U.S. trade liberalization in a decade and supporting tens of thousands of jobs. At the same time, it is absolutely essential that American workers compete on a fair playing field – that’s why I didn’t sign those trade deals until I was satisfied that our workers were protected. In 2011, American farm income reached the highest point since 1974, with a record number of agricultural exports and a record agriculture trade surplus. Our Trans-Pacific Partnership will open up new markets that total 40% of global trade to more U.S. goods. I’ll work to ensure that the Export-Import bank provides a level playing field for American exporters by making sure the most favorable financing is available to buy American products. And I’ll continue my efforts to stand up for American workers and businesses in the global marketplace.
The current Administration has not made expanding agricultural trade and exports a high priority. Yet, the production from 1 out of 3 acres in the U.S. is exported each year. A Romney Administration will make the pursuit of new bilateral and regional trade agreements a high priority. I will appoint a Secretary of Agriculture and a U.S. Trade Representative who understand the importance of agricultural trade and will vigorously pursue trade expansion. At the same time, my administration will vigorously enforce existing U.S. trade laws and ensure that our trade partners are held accountable when they do not follow them.