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"Cargill CEO: Move Forward on Free Trade"

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June 6, 2011

Minneapolis Star Tribune

By Greg Page, Chairman and CEO, Cargill

Growing up in the late 1960s and 1970s in North Dakota, I came to appreciate the need for markets far away from my hometown in order for the local farmers to make a go of it -- whether those markets were in Bismarck or Bogota. The simple fact is that our local farm economies wouldn't survive without access to other markets. Unfortunately, free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia have been sitting idle as politicians sort out the political calculus and possible impact of these three agreements on 2012 reelection chances. In my mind, elections should be the product of decisionmaking, not its purpose -- especially when the future of local farmers and the nation's economy are at stake. As the United States and global economies struggle to recover from the 2008 financial collapse, and as too many people across the globe remain jobless and hungry, it is irresponsible to accept the status quo on trade. Now is the time for the U.S. Congress to ratify its free trade agreement with South Korea -- as well as those with Panama and Colombia -- to stimulate economic growth, jobs and global food security.