U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Energy and Rural Development, joined her fellow lawmakers on the Senate floor today to outline the importance of passing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Senator Ernst highlighted the tremendous economic benefits the trade agreement would have on her home state of Iowa, where one in five jobs is tied directly to trade.
Senator Ernst’s full remarks are below:
To the senior senator from North Dakota, thank you for all your great work in pulling us all together. A number of us here on the floor really appreciate the agricultural sector. And we heard from my senior senator just a bit ago.
But, why am I so enthused about the USMCA? It’s because, in the great state of Iowa, one out of every five jobs is tied to trade.
Over 87,000 farms make Iowa our nation’s top egg, pork, corn, soybean, and ethanol producer.
And with Canada and Mexico being two of our biggest trading partners, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement—the USMCA—is a HUGE deal for the state of Iowa.
Last year alone, my home state of Iowa exported 6.6 billion dollars worth of products to just Canada and Mexico. That’s more than we exported to our next 27 top export markets all combined! 27 combined, and it still wasn’t greater than what we send to Mexico and Canada.
This deal will allow those numbers to grow exponentially by creating new export opportunities for our dairy industry, greater access for our egg producers, and reducing non-tariff trade barriers that previously hampered our exporting abilities.
So folks, it’s critical that we get the USMCA across the finish line.
But not just for the sake of getting a tremendous win for our agriculture community, but finalizing a deal that will impact the livelihoods of hardworking Iowans, and all Americans across the country.
95 percent of the world’s population lives outside of the United States of America, which makes our exports all the more important.
Having the USMCA in place means certainty. Certainty in a time where prices have been low and markets have been eroded from other trade negotiations.
This trade deal preserves our duty-free access to Mexican and Canadian markets, which many of our ag producers and manufacturers benefit from.
I’ve heard from countless equipment dealers and processors all the way down to the farmers growing the crops and raising our hogs.
Ratifying this agreement will be a shot of positive energy into their businesses, their homes, and to folks all across rural America.
Folks, when it comes to trade with our neighbors to the north and the south, it’s simple: we need the USMCA passed through Congress as soon as possible.
It’s already been ratified by Mexico, folks, they’re done. And it looks like Canada is set to follow suit.
The USMCA was signed on November 30, 2018. That is two hundred and twenty eight days…that’s right, two hundred and twenty-eight days.
I’d say it’s about time that Speaker Pelosi and our friends in the House signal their full support for this agreement. So folks, it’s time to get moving.
We’ve got to get this deal across the finish line. Iowa’s farmers, manufacturers and small businesses are counting on us to get this done.
And with that, again, I’d like to say, Go USMCA!