Iowa Exports & Foreign Investment


In 2023, Iowa exported a record $18.4 billion of goods to the world.  In 2021, exports from Iowa supported an estimated 102 thousand jobs.


Exports from Iowa and Jobs

  • Iowa was the 25th largest state exporter of goods in 2023.
  • In 2023, Iowa goods exports were $18.4 billion, an increase of 33 percent ($4.5 billion) from its export level in 2013 (latest data available).
  • Goods exports accounted for 7.4 percent of Iowa GDP in 2023 (latest data available).
  • Iowa goods exports in 2021 (latest data available) supported an estimated 102 thousand jobs. Nationally, jobs supported by goods exports pay up to an estimated 18 percent above the national average.

Manufacturing Exports from Iowa and Jobs

  • In 2023, Iowa exported $16.3 billion of manufactured products.
  • Iowa exports of manufactured products supported an estimated 47 thousand jobs in 2021 (latest data available).
  • The state's largest manufacturing export category is machinery, except electrical, which accounted for $4.7 billion of Iowa's total goods exports in 2023.
  • Other top manufacturing exports are food and kindred products ($3.7 billion), chemicals ($3.2 billion), transportation equipment ($1.2 billion), and computer and electronic products ($733 million).


Exports Sustain Thousands of Iowa Businesses many of which are SMEs

  • A total of 3,303 companies exported from Iowa locations in 2022 (latest data available). Of those, 2,677 (81 percent) were small and medium sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees.
  •  Small and medium-sized firms generated 14.9 percent of Iowa's total exports of goods in 2022.


Iowa Depends on World Markets

  • The state’s largest market was Canada. Iowa exported $5.5 billion in goods to Canada in 2023, representing 30 percent of the state’s total goods exports.
  • Canada was followed by Mexico ($3.3 billion), China ($1.1 billion), Brazil ($1.1 billion), and Japan ($985 million).
  • Iowa’s exports to major world areas included:


2023 Value


$13.0 billion


$3.5 billion

European Union

$2.7 billion

South/Central America and Caribbean

$1.8 billion

Sub-Saharan Africa 

$200 million


  • 57 percent of Iowa’s goods exports ($10.6 billion) in 2023 went to current FTA partners. 

Agriculture in Iowa depends on Exports

  • Iowa is the country’s 2nd largest agricultural exporting state, shipping $16.5 billion in domestic agricultural exports abroad in 2022 (latest data available according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture).[1]
  • Top Agricultural exports were:


2022 Value

 2022 State Rank


$4.8 billion



$3.3 billion



$2.7 billion


feeds and other feed grains

$2.0 billion


soybean meal

$859 million



International Investment Creates Jobs in Iowa

  • In 2021 (latest data available), foreign-controlled companies employed 66,700 Iowa workers. Major sources of foreign investment in Iowa included Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada.
  • Foreign investment in Iowa was responsible for 5.1 percent of the state's total private-industry employment in 2021.

Iowa’s Major Metropolitan Areas Benefit from Exporting

In 2022 (latest data available), the following metropolitan areas in Iowa recorded goods exports: Sioux City ($1.8 billion), Des Moines-West Des Moines ($1.7 billion), Cedar Rapids ($1 billion), Ames ($880.4 million), Waterloo-Cedar Falls ($480.4 million), Iowa City ($388.2 million), and Dubuque ($164.8 million).

[1] Estimates of state exports of agricultural products by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and goods exports by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce are based on different methodologies and are not directly comparable.