A group of Iowa business leaders has called on the state’s congressional delegation to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, the Association of Business and Industry, and the Greater Des Moines Partnership wrote a letter asking the state’s representatives in Washington, D.C. to adopt the USMCA, stating that “the trade deal is essential to Iowa farmers, businesses, and families and provides economic predictability that Iowa needs for the future.”
With Collins Aerospace, Corteva Agriscience, Fareway Stores Inc., MercyOne, Tyson Foods and Vermeer Corp. among those represented, the letter’s authors hope the agreement would provide certainty amidst a drawn-out deadlock and unwavering tariffs.
“We all worked hard to get passage of USMCA done, and we tried to decide what more can we do,” Mike Ralston, president of the ABI, told The Center Square. “We ended up with 79 groups and businesses to write to the Iowa congressional delegation to urge passage of the USMCA.”
Ralston said the trade deal is essential to the state because of exports.
“Certainly, it’s important for agricultural exports, but for manufacturing alone, Canada and Mexico are our largest trading partners for manufactured goods, so we really want [our] delegation in Congress to support passage of the USMCA,” he said.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative reported that Canada last year purchased about $4 billion worth of goods from the state while Mexico imported about $2 billion worth of Iowa products.
According to Ralston, Iowa’s congressional representatives have not responded to the letter, but Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst expressed their support.
“The action is in the House of Representatives, and we’re eager to hear back from the members of the House,” he said.
Republicans have accused Democrats of delaying a vote because they don't want to hand President Donald Trump another economic victory ahead of the 2020 elections.
Ralston said the business group hopes Congress passes the USMCA by the end of the year.