Free and fair trade is a no-cost economic stimulus package for agriculture and our entire economy. I will continue to support efforts that level the playing field and are beneficial to American agriculture, manufacturing and the economy at large. With free and fair agreements in place, we can create jobs and fuel the economy without spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. At the end of the day, it is simply not enough to buy American; we have to sell American.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 5,200 jobs in the 9th District are directly supported by exports. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) reports that manufacturers in the entire state of Missouri account for nearly 12 percent of the total output in the state, employing 9.2 percent of the workforce. In 2009, total output from manufacturing was $27.7 billion with the largest sector being food processing manufacturing.
Exports are critical to Missouri’s small businesses. According to NAM, in 2009 small business accounted for 85 percent of Missouri’s 4,710 exporters. Today 18 percent of Missouri’s manufacturing jobs are supported by manufactured exports, and since 2003 Missouri manufacturing exports have grown by 64 percent, trending just slightly behind the national average of 70 percent.
An open trade platform can be of tremendous benefit to this nation when the playing field is level. We must counteract China’s currency manipulation and ensure that no nation can hamper U.S. economic growth with unfair trading policies. We must do everything we can to get America back to work and compete in the global market.