A new trade agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada – known as the USMCA – is critical to the ongoing success of Iowa’s key industries and to overall economic growth across the state. Without this agreement, Iowa’s reputation as a great place to visit, live and work will be in jeopardy.
Iowa’s economy is comprised of three primary industries: manufacturing, the biosciences and insurance/finance. This diversity helps protect us from drastic swings in one sector or another, but ultimately, agriculture is the underpinning.
It might not be clear how free trade impacts the average Iowa community and its residents – especially if you’re not a farmer.
Stop and consider the far-reaching impact and benefits free trade has on Iowa’s economy:
• The field and lab workers planting and monitoring the next generation of seed technology – or the technicians programming the robots to make the heavy equipment that prepared the land and constructed the buildings where these experts now work.
• The university researchers using genome mapping to isolate and solve the cause of reoccurring illness in livestock and the lawyers writing the patent applications that will help protect the intellectual property invested in developing these new technologies.
• The coders programming the app that turns a terrain map captured by a drone into yield predictions farmers use to decide what crops to plant where and the machinists making the nozzle for the sprayers farmers use to fertilize and protect their crops.
• The millworkers turning different grades of corn and soy into everything from biofuels to beer, corn starch, cereal and vegetable oil – which will be stored and dried in bins assembled by Iowa workers before being shipped to their final destinations across the country and around the world.
Don’t forget that all of these people – and many more – buy or rent homes, pay insurance on their homes and machinery, purchase or lease vehicles, buy groceries or dine-out and decide whether to take their family to a ball game, the water park, a movie or local festival.
If they are business owners, they’re making similar decisions about whether to renovate their space, construct new facilities, hire more people, renew their fleets, invest in research, pay for employee training and more. These investments, in turn, spur statewide improvements to our roads, education and broadband infrastructure.
That is why free trade – especially with our top trading partners, Canada and Mexico – is so important.
Restricting access, or even creating uncertainty about the potential future demand, for any one Iowa product sends a negative signal to businesses and results in a ripple effect across the state.
On the other hand, a commitment to free trade sends a positive signal to businesses. It tells them to expand, invest and grow – decisions that create increased opportunity for Iowa communities, workers and families.
Join us, Governor Reynolds, the Iowa delegation and agribusiness leaders, in calling for Congress to pass the USMCA trade agreement. Let them know we must send the right signal to Iowa businesses, workers and families.