About 20 years ago the United States had free trade agreements with three other countries, now that's up to 20, according to Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon. The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership look to add more to that list.
On Wednesday, Wyden and other members of the Senate Finance Committee started a discussion on free trade enforcement. Wyden says other governments help its companies for a competitive edge; he cites examples of intimidation, espionage, rule breaking and outright fraud. He says updating enforcement for quicker response times would help.
Senator Chuck Grassley is a member of the finance committee, he says the meeting was meant to take a hard look at trade partnerships and what legislators can do.
He says, "The importance of trade is, of course, that Iowa for agriculture, for manufacturing, and for services as well as finance. We're an exporting state, we do a lot of business overseas. Jobs connected with exports pay 15 percent above the national average. So it's good for the economy."
Richard Wilkins, the treasurer for the American Soybean Association joined the meeting explaining that the majority of U.S. row crops now use biotechnology. He says international GMO disagreement slows down the approval process for new varieties and hinders exports and sales abroad.