The following editorial appeared in the Jan. 23 edition of The Fort Dodge Messenger:
Action that Iowa’s farmers have awaited for far too long has finally occurred. Both houses of Congress have passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. That means that as 2020 unfolds this crucial trade measure should quickly be ready for implementation.
This new pact is expected to benefit many parts of the U.S. economy. In remarks on the Senate floor, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley stressed that this agreement will strengthen our nation.
“According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, the USMCA will raise real GDP by more than $68 billion and create nearly 176,000 jobs,” the Iowa Republican said. “All told, the trade pact is forecast to boost farm and food exports by at least $2.2 billion.”
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue also emphasized the USMCA’s importance for American farmers in a statement taking note of its congressional approval.
“Canada and Mexico are our first and second largest export markets for United States food and agricultural products, totaling more than $39.7 billion in food and agricultural exports in 2018,” he said. “These exports support more than 325,000 American jobs.”
Trade with Mexico and Canada already is immensely important to the Hawkeye State. In 2018, the value of Iowa products sold in these nations totaled $6.6 billion. That year, Iowa’s trade with Canada and Mexico exceeded the combined worth of the state’s exports to the next 27 nations that are markets for our state.
New provisions in the USMCA should make it possible to grow our sales in these neighboring countries even more. These two markets rank as the top two export venues for our state’s agricultural products. Consequently, this trade arrangement, which succeeds and improves upon the North American Free Trade Agreement, is vital for the continued well-being of our state’s agricultural economy.
“Iowa and the entire nation will reap the benefits of USMCA for years to come,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said in welcoming the positive congressional action. “I believe USMCA is a strong, balanced, and modern trade agreement that will create opportunities for Iowa families, farmers, manufacturers and small businesses by expanding markets for our world-class exports.”
That sentiment was shared enthusiastically by her fellow Iowa Republican, U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst.
“I’m excited about the market opportunities and predictability this trade agreement will bring to hardworking Americans across the country,” Ernst said.
The Messenger strongly agrees. We have backed the USMCA since negotiations were finalized by the Trump administration in late 2018. Reynolds, Grassley and Ernst also have been strong champions of this agreement. We applaud their strong advocacy on its behalf. With USMCA about to take effect, Iowa’s farmers can plan for the 2020 growing season with increased confidence and optimism. That’s indeed very good news.