Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement today on President Obama signing into law three trade agreements and workers' assistance expected to support tens-of-thousands of American jobs:
"Today, President Obama signed a major piece of his jobs agenda into law: new trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. These agreements will support tens of thousands of jobs here at home, put unemployed Americans back to work, and open new opportunities for American businesses. For America's farmers and ranchers, the trade agreements are an opportunity to strengthen U.S. agriculture, already a bright spot in our economy.
"Farm exports help support more than 1 million American jobs. This year and next, U.S. agricultural exports are on track to reach new highs, leading to a trade surplus of over $42 billion, eight times greater than five years ago. When implemented, these three agreements will increase farm exports by an additional $2.3 billion--supporting nearly 20,000 American jobs--by eliminating tariffs, removing barriers to trade and leveling the playing field for U.S. producers.
"Overall, these agreements are a win for the American economy--they mean higher incomes for farmers and ranchers, more opportunities for small businesses owners, and jobs for folks who package, ship, and market agricultural products."