Guest opinion: Increased trade means increased opportunity for S.D. producers |

Guest opinion: Increased trade means increased opportunity for S.D. producers

Lucas Lentsch
S.D. Secretary of Agriculture

In 2013, South Dakota exported almost $1.6 billion worth of goods to countries around the world. International trade has an incredible impact on the agricultural economy of our state. Soybeans, corn, wheat, and livestock, including pork and cattle are among the top 25 goods shipped from South Dakota overseas.

2015 holds numerous opportunities to grow international trade opportunities for South Dakota producers. Currently, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is negotiating two vital trade agreements with many of our top trading partners around the world.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement currently being negotiated between the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Seventy-three percent of all exports from South Dakota end up in TPP countries. Expanded access to these markets means expanded opportunities for South Dakota producers.

The U.S. is also in the midst of negotiating a trade agreement with the European Union. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will hopefully provide both expanded access to European markets and better facilitation of existing trade relationships by ensuring a fair and transparent trading process. According to USTR, if both TPP and TTIP are successfully implemented, the U.S. will have free trade agreements with 65 percent of the global economy.

South Dakota also faces new market opportunities with the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba. While the trade embargo is still in effect, officials from both countries sat down this month to begin talks about lifting the embargo. Open trade with Cuba would open new markets both for South Dakota agricultural products and technology.

The coming months will hopefully bring many new opportunities for South Dakota producers to get their products to market in countries across the world. With these increased opportunities, South Dakota producers can continue to feed the world.

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