July 16,2019

Grassley On the Importance of Passing USMCA

Prepared Floor Remarks by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Chairman, Senate Finance Committee
On the Importance of Passing USMCA
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
American farmers, workers and businesses stand to benefit greatly from the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
This successor trade agreement to NAFTA will allow for 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.
As a family farmer, I can say without a doubt that trade with Canada and Mexico are critical to the prosperity of Iowa, the Midwest and all of rural America.
A 2019 Business Roundtable study found that trade with Mexico and Canada supported 12 million U.S. jobs.
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.
According to the National Association of Manufacturers, Canada and Mexico purchase nearly half of Iowa’s total global manufacturing exports.
President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer delivered a solid deal to enhance this critical relationship with our good neighbors.
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.
That’s more important than ever as talks between the U.S. and China are back on track.
I’m looking forward to hearing concrete suggestions from House Democrats sometime soon.
I’m glad Speaker Pelosi has formed working groups to work with Ambassador Lighthizer to address Democrats’ concerns and that these meetings are underway.
Any additions to USMCA that can improve outcomes for American workers, I’m happy to consider.
It’s important to remember that USMCA is better than NAFTA by nearly every standard, including labor and environment.
So I hope discussions between House Democrats and Ambassador Lighthizer is an exercise in getting to ‘yes.’
One particular area where everyone can agree is that enforcement across the board is key.
Factors outside farmers’ hands such as an oversupply of grain in the global market, an unusually wet spring across the Midwest and natural disasters like flooding have all contributed to increased uncertainty and less profitability for farmers.
Passing USMCA will help alleviate some of that uncertainty for the years ahead by providing stable export markets for American corn, soybeans, pork and dairy, to name just a few examples.