ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The director of the St. Louis-based Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative says the historic Brexit decision could have U.S. exporters looking away from Great Britain for a gateway into the European Union.

“That might be Germany. That might be France. Is that going to make the transaction between the Mississippi River’s products and the European Union more expensive? It might,” says Colin Wellenkamp.

Wellenkamp tells KMOX the mayors that make up the initiative are always looking to expand river export options and their certainty. He says the enlargement of the Panama Canal and talk of adding container movement on the Mississippi are two things that have them excited.

United States exports of agricultural products to E.U. countries reached $11.9 billion in 2013. As a group, the E.U. ranks fifth as an Ag Export market for America.

“Illinois is the top soybean producer in the country. Minnesota is number three. For beer, you’ve got Missouri and Wisconsin in the top five,” says Wellenkamp as he ponders what effect Britain’s exit from the European Union will have on the Mississippi River’s economy.

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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