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Obama on trade, energy

DANIEL LOOKER 01/26/2011 @ 10:49am Business Editor

In case you missed it, President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address touched on some issues important to agriculture, including energy and trade.

Here’s what Obama had to say about energy:

“At the California Institute of Technology, they’re developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars.  At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they’re using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities.  With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.  (Applause.)

We need to get behind this innovation.  And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. (Applause.)  I don’t know if -- I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own.  (Laughter.)  So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.

Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling.  So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal:  By 2035, 80 percent of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources. (Applause.)”

He also talked about trade:

“To help businesses sell more products abroad, we set a goal of doubling our exports by 2014 -– because the more we export, the more jobs we create here at home.  Already, our exports are up.  Recently, we signed agreements with India and China that will support more than 250,000 jobs here in the United States.  And last month, we finalized a trade agreement with South Korea that will support at least 70,000 American jobs. This agreement has unprecedented support from business and labor, Democrats and Republicans -- and I ask this Congress to pass it as soon as possible.  (Applause.)

Now, before I took office, I made it clear that we would enforce our trade agreements, and that I would only sign deals that keep faith with American workers and promote American jobs. That’s what we did with Korea, and that’s what I intend to do as we pursue agreements with Panama and Colombia and continue our Asia Pacific and global trade talks. (Applause.)”

Here’s some of the reaction farm farm groups:

“We were encouraged that President Obama spoke about the needs of rural America and the importance of our country’s global leadership when it comes to agriculture,” said National Corn Growers Association Chairman Darrin Ihnen. “Our growers have been working hard and smart to meet all needs for food, feed and fuel and we have long recognized the need for policies and programs to grow opportunities for American farmers here at home and in markets abroad.”

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