Trade is of paramount importance to the economy of the 18th Congressional district. Free trade strengthens our economy by expanding investment opportunities, opening new markets to domestic industries, and creating jobs.

Since 1950, international trade has grown to account for over a quarter of economic growth. Today, trade supports more than 38 million American jobs across the United States, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 1,700,000 jobs are dependent on trade in Illinois, according to Trade Benefits America. While 4% of U.S. exports come from large companies, small businesses are responsible for the remaining 96%.

International trade is essential to the health of major industries in Central Illinois, such as manufacturing and agriculture.  Central Illinois is home to terrific companies – Caterpillar, John Deere, ADM, and many other medium and small companies who rely on robust global trade to remain competitive.  One in three manufacturing jobs depends on exports and one in three acres on American farms is planted for export purposes. U.S. agriculture is 2.5 times more reliant on trade than the overall economy.

In order to continue to facilitate trade that benefits American workers, I believe it is essential to strengthen dialogue with our trade partners, to have clear agreements, and enforceable free and fair trade laws.