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October 13th, 2011

Latham Votes for Iowa Job-Creating Free Trade Agreements

WASHINGTON, DC – Iowa Congressman Tom Latham stood with Iowa agriculture, manufacturers and employees with his vote in favor of free trade agreements between the U.S. and three other nations that will create thousands of Iowa jobs and open key international markets to Iowa products, services and agricultural commodities.

The agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea all received the approval of the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday.

“Too many Americans wake up every day to grim economic news and deep anxiety about our job market,” Congressman Latham said. “Approval of these free trade agreements will create jobs across our state and open new markets for Iowa products and commodities.  This is an important step in the right direction toward putting America back to work.”

Congressman Latham said the agreements will spark job growth in some of Iowa’s most important economic sectors, including agriculture and manufacturing.  The American Farm Bureau Federation expects the three agreements to increase direct agricultural exports from Iowa alone by $162.2 million per year.  The expanded markets assured by the agreements could create as many as 1,460 agriculture-related jobs in Iowa, according to the Farm Bureau, increasing trade for Iowa soybeans, pork, corn, beef and processed food and fish.

“These agreements will create real jobs and opportunities across Iowa,” Congressman Latham said. “We can’t afford to let politics, partisanship or posturing stand in the way.  This is good for Iowa, and it’s good for the United States.”

The U.S. economy stands to gain jobs in numerous sectors by leveling the playing field for American goods and services in foreign markets.  The agreements will remove barriers that have traditionally made U.S. trade with the three nations more costly.  For instance, the average South Korean tariff for U.S. exporters is more than four times the average tariff that Korean exporters face in the U.S. market.

The free trade agreements also will help the United States to stay competitive in a global economy that increasingly is becoming integrated.

Congressman Latham has been a strong supporter of the three free trade agreements. In June, he joined Sen. Charles Grassley and Rep. Steve King in a letter applauding Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s support of the agreements, noting their critical importance to Iowa’s economy and jobs market.


Photo by Dave Davidson,

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