I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
A key issue for Washington and the rest of the country right now is trade, with the Senate having recently passed the Trade Promotion Authority bill and the House of Representatives getting ready to vote on it. Washington Farm Bureau's John Stuhlmiller recently returned from D.C. where he and other ag industry leaders met with Senate and House members along with administration officials to deliver a strong message of pro-trade.
STUHLMILLER: Our organization is a heavy free trade. Free trade is critically important to us and Washington, the most trade dependent state in the nation; 40% of our jobs are trade dependent. Agriculture in particular - $15 billion dollars a year in food and ag products go through our ports. Agriculture is 13% of the state's economy. We're a big player and about 75% of what we export goes to the Asian markets. So, you can think about that and just the opportunity to expand what we ship.
Stuhlmiller stresses that Trade Promotion Authority is a standard piece of trade negotiations.
STUHLMILLER: You can't negotiate if you don't know what you're negotiating and whether or not you can even stand behind what you're negotiating; so it extends that authority of Congress out into the hands of the administration through the U.S. trade representative.
Washington Farm Bureau has partnered with the Washington Council on International Trade to develop a new tool to make it easy for people to contact their U.S. Representative and express their support for TPA. To learn more visit wcit.org.
On Monday Stuhlmiller will talk about the other aspect of trade they discussed with officials in D.C., and that's the ability to efficiently and quickly export product.
That's Washington Ag Today.
I'm Lacy Gray with the Ag Information Network of the West.