This week, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., introduced legislation aimed at cracking down on unfair trade practices and boosting manufacturing jobs in the state.

McCaskill says many Missouri companies have expressed frustration that an increasing number of foreign shippers are using unscrupulous and illegal tactics to avoid paying penalties they owe for illegal trade practices.

She says the legislation will help in pursuing and successfully collecting duties.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Senator Claire McCaskill says after a month of traveling to Missouri businesses she’ll introduce legislation to better enforce U.S. trade laws.

The Democrat says too many foreign companies are engaging in unfair trading practices, such as mislabeling products to avoid paying duties.

McCaskill says her bill will require all importers to have a physical address to ensure easier tracking and new shippers will be required to pay cash for duties instead of posting bonds that sometimes go unpaid.

(via Flickr/jimbowen0306)

Commission struggles to reach agreement on Senate districts boundaries

A panel of five Democrats and five Republicans met Monday and adjourned without reaching a deal on a new Missouri state Senate district map for the 34-member Senate. Commission leaders said the St. Louis area seems to be the biggest sticking point in adjusting the outlines of the state and Senate districts.

UPI Photo/Bill Greenblatt

Nixon Proposal Would Boost Oversight of Dog Breeders

Governor Jay Nixon proposed Wednesday to add $1.1 million to the state budget to hire 10 more inspectors, investigators, veterinarians and office staff for the Department of Agriculture program that regulates dog-breeding facilities. Nixon's office says the state currently spends about $600,000 a year on such efforts. The Senate Appropriations Committee considered the agriculture budget Wednesday but took no action on Nixon's proposal.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri farmers stand to benefit under a free-trade pact currently before Congress.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was in St. Louis today to urge Congress to pass the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

He said Missouri exports large amounts of pork and soybeans, products that have a ready market in South Korea.

It appears diplomatic concerns, not travel issues, are what's keeping Gov. Jay Nixon in the United States next week.

A trade mission led by Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon heads to Taiwan and South Korea later this month.
The primary reason for the trip will be the signing of a letter of intent sealing Taiwan's purchase of $600 million of Missouri goods.
According to a press release from the Nixon's office, the deal will indicate a roughly 28 percent increase in Missouri exports to Taiwan, to about $88 million.