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Vilsack Pushes Korean Trade Pact in St. Louis

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack encourages an audience of agriculture leaders from Missouri to focus on trade opportunities outside of their borders and also stresses the importance of the passage of Korean the Trade Agreement during a visit to the ADM grain elevator in St. Louis on March 28, 2011.     UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack encourages an audience of agriculture leaders from Missouri to focus on trade opportunities outside of their borders and also stresses the importance of the passage of Korean the Trade Agreement during a visit to the ADM grain elevator in St. Louis on March 28, 2011. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says ratification of a trade agreement with South Korea would add tens of thousands of jobs in the U.S., many of them in predominantly agricultural states like Missouri. But, he says, Congress needs to move quickly.

Vilsack spoke Monday outside an ADM terminal on the banks of the Mississippi River in St. Louis. He says he is hopeful Congress will ratify the South Korea trade agreement by July 1.

But Vilsack encouraged Congress to act quickly because other nations who compete with the U.S. are also negotiating with South Korea. Some in Congress prefer to wait and pass trade agreements with Colombia and Panama at the same time as South Korea.

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill says the pact with South Korea is “important and tough.”

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press

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