Doug Monger: Trade deal crucial to economy
Colorado is at the heart of agricultural trade in America, bringing high quality meat, grains and vegetables to people throughout the country and beyond.
As a native of Routt County and a lifelong rancher, I have seen firsthand the widespread economic benefits of our beef, pork, vegetables and assorted agricultural exports. Trade is truly a cornerstone of Colorado’s economy, and our products support families statewide.
In order to bolster our economy and help workers across Colorado, we need the Trans-Pacific Partnership to pass this year.
The advantages of the TPP cannot be overemphasized in a state where nearly 282,900 jobs are supported by trade with only TPP partner countries. Forty-seven percent of goods exported from Colorado are destined for TPP countries, making its passage vital to the economic success of Colorado ranchers, farmers and manufacturers alike.
My family has been in Routt County for four generation’s and it is our family, friends and community that will experience the beneficial impacts of the TPP by making it easier for small business owners to get their products to emerging markets.
In Routt County, we pride ourselves on our integrity and hard work, and we bring those values to everything we make and sell. Unfortunately, we currently face many unnecessary barriers when we try to trade our goods internationally. Vietnam, for instance, taxes our beef exports with tariffs as high as 34 percent. The TPP will eliminate these tariffs, as well as nearly 18,000 others with TPP-partner nations.
As a rancher, beef is clearly an area of particular concern to my business. Beef exports alone brought the state more than $3.8 billion dollars in 2014, supporting hardworking members of our community.
Passing the TPP could increase that number by more than $60 million per year, putting more money into the pockets of the dedicated cattlemen and cattlewomen of our state. More importantly, this landmark trade deal will bring numerous benefits to farmers across Colorado and will allow the agricultural industry to add more than 800 jobs as a result of increased trade.
Colorado ranchers and farmers represent the backbone of our great state, and we need to support them by giving them the opportunity to thrive in international markets. The TPP is an international policy that will have a tangible effect on our community, and we need for it to be enacted as quickly and prudently as possible. American goods are associated with high quality, but this means nothing if they cannot reach other countries.
When the United States takes the lead in the global economy, Colorado benefits; that is why we need our representatives in Congress to pass the TPP in 2016.
Opening overseas markets to our local farmers and ranchers will not only bolster the economic fortunes of our producers here in Routt County, but those of the entire community, extending to the rest of the state and the nation. This is surely a bi-partisan issue that all Coloradoans, and all Americans, can and should firmly get behind in support.
Doug Monger is a fourth-generation rancher who owns Monger Cattle Company in Hayden. He also serves as a Routt County commissioner.
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