He said the international market has been good for

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Unformatted text preview: s/local/13568120.txt , 7.6.11, SWolff) […] The event, which featured a variety of speakers, aimed at sharing information about the benefits of international trade for farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and small businesses. (Independent/Crystal LoGiudice) Christopher Wenk, senior director of International Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said one important reason trade is essential to the U.S. is that 95 percent of the world's consumers live outside the U.S. Wenk said Congress is working to ratify free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. The U.S. already has 17 free trade agreements with countries around the world, including Nebraska's two largest trade partners, Canada and Mexico. He said more than 40 percent of all U.S. trade is with those 17 countries. "That shows you that our free trade agreements do work in terms of opening foreign markets to our exports," Wenk said. And if Congress ratifies free trade agreements with Panama, South Korea and Colombia, the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., has said the agreements would bring $13 billion in trade benefits to the U.S., including $2.5 billion in new agricultural exports. The Obama administration has said the three free trade agreements would create as many as 250,000 jobs. "Exports are a crucial part of restoring economic growth to this country," Wenk said. Nationwide in 2010, he said, U.S. exports totaled $1.84 trillion, including $108 billion in agricultural exports, creating 57 million jobs in America. The country's biggest trade partners are Canada, $261 billion, and Mexico, $152 billion. To demonstrate the value of exports to the U.S. economy, Wenk said the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has started a new website,, which will allow website visitors to see statistics on how trade directly benefits Nebraska's economy and job creation. For example, Wenk said in 2010 trade benefited Nebraska's 3rd Congressional District by $2.1 billion, supporting more than 8,000 jobs, many of which are in Grand Island. Of that $2.1 billion trade benefit, $1.2 billion was from exports to countries with which the U.S. has free trade agreements. Wenk said agricultural exports from Nebraska's 3rd Congressional District last year totaled more than $100 million. "But under a free trade agreement, all the tariff and nontariff barriers we currently face in those markets would be swept away," he said. "We see these agreements as a way to increase our exports. I think you would see job gains at the local level if those agreements are approved." Also participating in the trade seminar was Cindy Johnson, president of the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce. Johnson said trade has helped Grand Island's economy and has created jobs, especially with many of the community's manufacturing companies, helping to keep Grand Island's unemployment rate low, currently less than 4 percent. "We have many companies and individuals who have been trading internationa...
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