On Sept. 22, Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Jack Fisher sent the following letter to the editors of Ohio’s major newspapers regarding trade, its importance to the state of Ohio, and what it has to do with this autumn’s election.
Ohioans can only hope that the trade bashing in our current political campaigns doesn’t carry over to our governance. In TV spots and stump speeches, far too many candidates claim they’ll protect us from the evils of the global marketplace. This stance ignores the facts.
Statistics from federal and state government and the Brookings Institution paint a clear picture. Nearly 26 percent of Ohio’s manufacturing jobs are dependent on exports, and export intensive industries pay higher wages than domestic-oriented industries. With 12,384 Ohio companies selling products abroad, Ohio ranks as the seventh largest exporting state and is among the top five for exports of glass and glassware, automotive and rubber goods, iron and steel products, plastics and machinery. Ohio firms also ship large amounts of chemicals, computers, paper, furniture, textiles and appliances. Ohio has five of the top 70 metros for exports: greater Cleveland, greater Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, Akron and greater Youngstown. Rural economies also depend on exports. Ohio farm product shipments totaled $2.68 billion last year, a 69 percent increase over the level of five years ago.
Ohio’s export dependence is unquestionable. Voters should act on this knowledge when choosing who they will put in elective office.
John C. (Jack) Fisher, Executive Vice President, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation