SLC's latest Issue Alert examines how, even though the relative importance of agriculture and agriculture-related industries in the overall U.S. economy has diminished in recent years, the sector continues to be a critical component of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP). In 2012, the latest year available, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that the sector contributed $775.8 billion toward GDP, a 4.8 percent share; the output of the nation's farms alone totaled $166.9 billion in 2012.

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WASHINGTON, D.C.—Enhancing competitiveness and promoting good governance are two of the many reasons trade still matters, according to Mary Ryckman, the assistant United States trade representative for Trade and Development.

Trade, she said, allows the U.S. and its trading partners to “define the rules of the road, the standards that countries should adhere to, the norms which create a sense of fairness among economies, and the mechanisms by which disagreements can be peacefully...

2014 SIDO WASHINGTON CONFERENCE

JUNE 18-20, 2014

LIAISON HOTEL

By Wade Merritt, Vice President of the Maine International Trade Center,
President of the State International Development Organizations

The United Kingdom Minister for Trade recently proclaimed, “We’re going to save the world through exports!”
It may be a bold statement, but it is a sentiment and enthusiasm we should all share—the more export-ready our businesses are, the greater our share of a competitive global marketplace.

Vital Moreira, a member of the European Parliament and chairman of its Committee on International Trade, shares his thoughts on what the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would mean to Europe and the United States. This 12-nation agreement with the trans-Pacific region and with the European Union is one of the trade deals on the table.

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February 2014 marks the three-year anniversary of a joint U.S.-Canada effort to reduce unnecessary regulatory differences that raise the cost of doing business across the border — and can raise prices for consumers as well. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper created the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council to guide bilateral work to streamline and harmonize regulations. The council works toward mutual acceptance of each other’s standards when harmonization is not possible, and seeks other ways to simplify the cross-border regulatory process, such as recognizing common testing procedures and enforcement.
For many years, the livestock industry in Canada and the U.S., especially for cattle and pigs, has been integrated, with animals moving both ways across the border for feeding and slaughter. But new U.S. country-of-origin labeling requirements may change this relationship. 

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments urges reauthorization of the STEP grant pilot program beyond 2014; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments urges expanded authorization past FY 2013-2014 for continued funding of the STEP program for eligible states and territories.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that CSG requests that the U.S. Congress implement a legislative solution that will facilitate the efficient operation of the integrated regional livestock industry, rather than implement additional regulations and requirements for meat producers and processors.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments recognizes that the New International Trade Crossing is vital to ensuring the ongoing viability of existing trade between the United States and Canada and will lay the foundation for future productivity, growth and economic stability of local economies across the Midwest.

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