According to Idaho’s Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, the Asia-Pacific is crucial for the future economic security and prosperity of the United States, offering significant and plentiful opportunities for trade development, job creation, competitive pricing and profitable business relationships founded on mutual trust and cooperation.
Having returned in April from his latest trade mission to Asia, during which he was awarded the “Friend of the Foreign Service Medal” from the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Governor Otter has highlighted the benefits brought to his state of nearly 25 years of commerce and trade missions to Asia-Pacific nations including South Korea, Taiwan and China.
Governor Otter, who has visited key trading partners in the Asia-Pacific in order to establish productive and long-term connections for Idaho businesses, states that exports to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member countries account for almost 90% of Idaho’s total $6.1 billion per annum in exports, and Asia-Pacific nations now comprise eight out of the top ten destinations for Idaho's exports. Singapore represented the largest market in Asia for Idaho’s goods last year, with exports of $965 million, whilst Idaho’s Micron Technology, the United States’ largest manufacturer of memory and semiconductor technology, has recently become the largest American U.S. investor in Taiwan, which is itself now Idaho's second largest export market in Asia.
The biggest share of Idaho’s goods exports to Asia is constituted by products such as conductors and semiconductors, with exports worth $2,337 million in 2012, yet a wide variety of Idaho’s industries are continuing to profit from enhanced trade relations with the region and greater access to its markets. Dairy products, aerospace parts, grains, computer equipment, mill products and navigational instruments all featured significantly in Idaho's exports to Asia in 2012, and by the end of June 2013, total exports reached $2.8 billion, setting a new record for Idaho with an increase of nearly 3.4% since this time last year.
With Idaho’s success in the Asia-Pacific having established the state as a key competitor in the global market, Governor Otter is now urging Congress and the Obama administration to develop similar trade agreements to those negotiated in the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement of 2012, emphasizing not only the "tremendous" prospects in terms of increased trade and business relationships within the Asia-Pacific, but also the region’s critical role in facilitating the long-term economic security and increased prosperity of the U.S.