WAUKEE, IOWA (October 9, 2019) — Prepared Remarks by Senator Charles "Chuck" Grassley of Iowa, Chairman, Senate Finance Committee, at an Event with Vice President Pence:
It’s great to be here with you today to talk about USMCA [United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement]. This has been a top priority of mine this year because Americans stand to benefit greatly from USMCA.
More market access for agriculture, new commitments in critical areas such as customs, digital trade, intellectual property, labor, environment, currency, and the lowering of non-tariff barriers will translate into higher wages, greater productivity, and more jobs. In fact, the independent US International Trade Commission found that USMCA will create 176,000 new American jobs.
We should not waste this opportunity to update NAFTA, which has been critical to the success of American farmers and businesses, but simply has not kept up with American innovation. For agriculture, international trade is critical to reaching the 95-percent of the world’s consumers living outside the United States.
Our agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have more than quadrupled since 1994. Corn exports increased sevenfold.
A 2019 Business Roundtable study found that international trade supports 39 million jobs across America, and 12 million jobs from trade with Mexico and Canada alone.
The same study found that 130,000 Iowa jobs were supported by trade with Canada and Mexico in 2017, and $6.6 billion in Iowa goods and services were exported to Canada and Mexico the same year.
According to the National Association of Manufacturers, Canada and Mexico purchase nearly half of Iowa’s total global manufacturing exports.
President Trump and Trade Representative [Robert] Lighthizer delivered a solid deal to enhance this critical relationship with our good neighbors to the North and South. Now Congress must act to implement USMCA. As Ambassador Lighthizer said earlier this year, doing so will enhance the credibility of our global trade-agenda, and I couldn’t agree more.
I met with Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi earlier this year, and believe that she wants to get to yes. And I was glad to hear her say that impeachment politics won’t get in the way of legislative action. I hope that is true. But the clock is ticking, and actions will speak louder than words.
I assure you that I will continue pushing hard to get USMCA across the finish line so Americans can reap the benefits of this well-negotiated deal.
The importance of trade to US agriculture isn’t always well-understood in Washington. As I often say, Washington is an island surrounded by reality. Iowa farmers know the time for USMCA is now.
You already know this, but I’m going to say it anyway. Iowa is so fortunate to have Governor Reynolds advocating on behalf of our state. It seems like every other day I hear about something new that Governor Reynolds is doing to help farmers and Iowa agriculture. She has been a strong advocate for passing USMCA and talks to President Trump regularly to share what’s on the minds of Iowa farmers. She is connected to the grassroots of Iowa like few others and when she speaks, this Administration listens. Please welcome our governor, Kim Reynolds.