This week was an in district work week and I enjoyed meeting with citizens as I visited a number of places in Missouri's Fourth Congressional District. A major event of the week was a Missouri/Vietnam Trade Exploration Forum hosted by the University of Missouri-Columbia. I met with Vietnam's Ambassador to the United States, Nguyen Quoc Cuong, to discuss trade opportunities that would benefit Missouri.
Vietnam is a nation of 90 million people and wants to do business with the United States and other Western countries. Representatives of Missouri agriculture and science were present to meet with the Vietnamese Ambassador and his delegation to discuss opportunities for trade expansion of agriculture to his country. Missouri currently exports over $100 million a year worth of products to Vietnam. We want to see that expand in the future.
I was pleased when Ambassador Cuong announced that his government has removed the ban on imports of U.S. offal -- byproducts of livestock processing. I see this as a good faith effort proving Vietnam's willingness to cooperate with agricultural leaders in the U.S. to remove barriers that are limiting bilateral trade. This ban has been hurting livestock producers in Missouri's Fourth District and throughout our state and I am happy to see it lifted. I look forward to continuing to work with Ambassador Cuong and the Vietnamese to remove tariff and non-tariff trade barriers between the two countries as our nations finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement.
I hosted another business roundtable this week to hear views from businessmen and women on what needs to be done to clear the path for businesses to begin hiring again, increase wages for hardworking citizens of our district, and to get our economy moving in the right direction.
A constant concern raised was the cost of compliance with government over-regulation. Small businesses are hamstrung by rules and regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and so many other federal government agencies that seem to be standing in the way of businesses trying to hire Americans wanting jobs.
Business leaders shared, as well, their concerns regarding implementation of the government health care law. No one knows how it is going to be implemented, since the Obama Administration is still writing the rules for the law. It is difficult for business owners to plan. As I visit with business owners throughout the Fourth District, it is clear ObamaCare is standing in the way of hiring as businesses are putting expansion plans on hold out of concern that additional employees will result in added costs that small businesses cannot afford. It is a sad situation when government actions prevent businesses from providing jobs to those who want to work. I pointed out that the House recently voted to repeal ObamaCare and offered my hope that the Senate would follow suit with this common sense idea. We need to repeal this onerous bill and replace it with real solutions that lower cost and increase accessibility.
It was a great pleasure to meet with the good businessmen and women of our district who are providing reliable services and essential products to Americans. There is no doubt in my mind that we could take an important step toward eliminating our nation's economic and unemployment problems if Washington were to get out of the way and allow the job creators I have met in Missouri's Fourth District and other job creators across the country to do what they do best -- grow and provide jobs for hardworking Americans. I will continue to fight for that goal and take insights and common sense ideas of the citizens of Missouri's Fourth District back with me to Washington. As always, I am so grateful for the privilege of representing the great people of this district.
Have a good week.