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Des Moines Register: Billions of dollars for Iowa's economy hinges on U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal

Billions of dollars for Iowa's economy hinges on U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal
Des Moines Register
By Jay Byers, Mike Ralston and Craig Hill, Guest columnists
July 8, 2019

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is a critically important trade policy for our country and the State of Iowa. The agreement will create a trade relationship between the countries that supports high-paying jobs for Americans and grows the North American economy. It is seen as an especially important deal for American workers, farmers and businesses. Therefore, we urge Congress to pass USMCA.

USMCA will strengthen food and agriculture trade in North America. It will protect U.S. intellectual property and ensure opportunities for trade in U.S. services. According to an analysis by the International Trade Commission, USMCA’s passage will raise the U.S. gross domestic product by $68.2 billion and put an additional $2.2 billion, or 1.1%, into the U.S. economy through increasing agriculture and food exports.

Canada and Mexico are Iowa’s top two export markets. In 2018, Iowa exported $6.6 billion worth of products to Canada and Mexico, more than it exported to the next 23 export partners combined. This included machinery, corn, soybeans, pork and processed foods. USMCA will create more market openings for manufacturers and farmers in our state to sell their exports throughout North America.

One example: USMCA preserves and expands access for U.S. egg producers into Canada. As the nation’s No. 1 producer of eggs, Iowa will benefit from the ability to sell more egg products. With more than 87,000 farms across the state, Iowa is also the No. 1 producer of corn, soybeans, hogs, ethanol and dry distillers grain solubles. A total of 86% of Iowa’s exports are manufactured goods. USMCA’s passage is a big deal for two key industries in our state.

USMCA’s passage will help support Iowa’s status as America’s Cultivation Corridor, where industry leaders from around the globe come to support and sustain the science that feeds the world. Through partnerships between public and private partners as well as higher education institutions, the Cultivation Corridor positions Iowa as a hub for agriculture and biosciences.

Expanding trade opportunities will help companies in the agbioscience space grow. USMCA’s passage will also support global trade initiatives within the state such as the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Global DSM: Trade and Investment Strategy. Through this plan, Greater Des Moines seeks to grow exports and foreign direct investment, build the region’s economic competitive advantage and strengthen the global mindset of the region.

USMCA is good for Iowa companies and the Iowa economy. Its passage will have a significant impact on our state’s ability to engage in trade with Mexico and Canada.

Jay Byers is CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Mike Ralston is president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. Craig Hill is president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.

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