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Continued: Readers Write: (March 11): Budget surplus, minimum wage, traffic and parking, pay disparities, trade agreements

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  • Last update: March 10, 2014 - 6:15 PM

Ron Hobson, St. Louis Park



A few more facts …

The March 6 counterpoint by U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison and Rick Nolan (“On trade talks, let’s not repeat NAFTA errors”) contained a few assertions to our original article (“Trade talks? NAFTA is a guide,” Feb. 19) that we want to correct.

First, the share of trade-related jobs in Minnesota has more than doubled since NAFTA passed, from 10.8 percent in 1992 to 21.8 percent in 2011. Jobs at plants that export pay on average up to 18 percent more than similar jobs in plants that sell only domestically.

Second, Minnesota’s export-related jobs are not just at large, multinational corporations. Of the Minnesota companies that exported goods or services in 2011, 723 were large companies and 6,088 were small and medium-sized businesses.

Third, increasing trade has also been beneficial for farmers. Minnesota is the fourth-largest exporter of agricultural products in the country. We are the top state for sugar beet exports and are among the top four for exports of soybeans, corn, oilseeds and swine.

Finally, although we do have an overall trade deficit with Canada and Mexico, it is driven by our oil imports. In 2011, we had a trade surplus with our North American neighbors in manufacturing, services and agriculture.

Contrary to assertions, the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other trade deals are not negotiated in secret. As former members of Congress, we know that any congressman can request a meeting or any documents relating to the negotiations at any time.

Tim Penny and Mark Kennedy, former members, U.S. House

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