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Rich Tobin, Published March 19 2014

Letter: Trade critical for jobs

With nearly 95 percent of the world’s consumers living beyond the borders of the U.S., trade is critical to America’s economic growth and job creation. The U.S. exported $2.3 trillion worth of goods and services in 2013, worth about an eighth of our GDP and supporting nearly

10 million American jobs.

At CNH Industrial, maker of iconic equipment brands such as Case IH and New Holland, we see the benefits of trade firsthand. CNH Industrial already exports roughly a third of the agricultural and construction equipment it manufactures in the U.S. to 92 countries around the world.

This means jobs, not just for CNH Industrial’s more than 10,000 U.S. workers across nine manufacturing plants but also for our family of more than 1,130 suppliers and their 100,000 employees across the country. In Fargo alone, we employ more than 1,100 workers and in 2013 exported about 40 percent of the tractors and wheel loaders manufactured here.

Opening new markets for exports means importing business and jobs for us, and for our suppliers.

Today’s visit to Fargo by U.S. Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg and U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., is a moment to highlight the importance of exporting and international trade. It is also an opportunity for us to reflect upon Ex-Im’s crucial role in supporting America’s exporters, like CNH Industrial.

Throughout its successful eight decades, Ex-Im has helped U.S. companies sell their products overseas, authorizing $506 billion in critical support through its loan, guarantee and insurance programs. Since the 1990s, CNH Industrial – and our suppliers – have benefited from Ex-Im financing to export more than a billion dollars’ worth of state- of-the-art equipment serving the agricultural and construction machinery markets worldwide.

Ex-Im is up for congressional reauthorization this year, and we want to send a clear and strong message to Washington: reauthorize this invaluable tool for American jobs and American producers.

Sometimes boosting trade requires bold action by the president that complements efforts like those of Ex-Im. That’s why every president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has received Trade Promotion Authority. When properly crafted, TPA helps the U.S. negotiate trade agreements, leveling the playing field and creating new market opportunities abroad for U.S. businesses and more jobs in local communities here at home.

More than three-quarters of Americans support passage of TPA, according to a recent poll from the Business Roundtable. We want to thank Heitkamp and those of her colleagues in Washington who are defying the current government gridlock atmosphere by pushing the United States trade agenda forward.

Heitkamp recently joined others in welcoming Hochberg before the Senate Banking Committee. Her commitment to exploring how Ex-Im can help grow small businesses – like many of our suppliers – is unwavering. Hochberg and Heitkamp have worked tirelessly to stand up for American business, leveraging federal resources to promote trade. They understand that when American companies are globally competitive, we all benefit.

Only through expanding export opportunities can a company like CNH Industrial grow its business globally, and, as we have demonstrated, this has a positive impact right here in North Dakota.

Tobin is president & CEO, CNH Industrial. The company has manufacturing facilities in Fargo.