Ernst touts USMCA days before agreement goes into effect


Ryan Matheny, KMA Land (IA)

Jun 29, 2020


(Washington, D.C.) -- Just days before it takes full effect, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst is touting the benefits of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.


The successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed by each of the three country's leaders during an event in November 2018. At a virtual campaign roundtable event with Iowa agriculture leaders, Ernst says the agreement -- which goes into effect Wednesday -- is long overdue.


"As I've traveled on the 99-county tour over the last several years, this is one of the hottest topics that I heard about coming not only from our farmers, but also our manufacturers, as well," said Ernst.  "This will be a big boon for our Iowa industry in that United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is very important, because Mexico and Canada are Iowa's two largest trading partners."


While most of the negotiations between the three countries centered on the auto industry, as well as steel and aluminum tariffs, agriculture played a key role in the agreement. Iowa Pork Producers Association President Mike Paustian says the agreement is big for Iowa, which raises nearly one-third of the nation's hogs.


"We export about 27% of the pork that's produced in Iowa," said Paustian.  "It's really critical for us to have stable trading agreements in place.  Mexico and Canada are historically two of our best trading partners.  We obviously have some logistical advantages over other countries as far as getting product to both of them."


Aside from assurances to the export market, Paustian says Mexico in particular is valuable to Iowa's pork producers because of their demand for hams.


"When we have greater demand for certain parts of the pig in other places, it really adds to the value of the pig for all producers if we can get access to markets and maximize that value," said Paustian...