A trade official from Washington is in Iowa today (Thursday) to speak to the Iowa Association of Business and Industry about the president’s trade policy. Jim Jochum, an Iowa native, is Assistant Secretary for Import Administration, and says his Iowa roots help him with administration policies like the lifting of barriers to foreign steel imports.Jochum says his father worked for John Deere for 35 years and he’s talked with other Iowa manufacturers like Amana and Maytag to get an idea what high steel prices were doing to them. Iowa-based Maytag is building a new factory in Mexico, and Yochum says the administration has strategies to halt the “exporting” of American jobs to other countries. Each company does it for different reasons, but Yochum says what Washington’s hearing is that it costs too much to do business in the US, and the administration intends to focus on controlling manufacturers’ prices so they have less need to export jobs. Jochum says he gets a benefit from coming to Iowa to talk with business people, as the Bush administration gathered information for its manufacturing report by holding forums in 20 cities with the people who have to live with government policies. About fifteen-Hundred businesses are represented in the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, which lobbies lawmakers on their behalf.
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