Zachary Friend
Former Intern, Strategic Communications, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


October 25, 2019


This fall all eyes are on Congress in hopes that it will pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The passage of the USMCA is integral to the U.S. economy. Why? Because Canada and Mexico now constitute the nations’ two largest export markets, as well as two of its’ top three aggregate trading partners. In 2018, trade with the two countries reached nearly $1.4 trillion, and this economic activity supports an estimated 12 million American jobs.

But, how will USMCA impact Iowa specifically?

Iowans could see enormous economic gains from passage of USMCA as several sectors of the state economy depend on trade with Canada and Mexico. For example, Iowa’s agriculture and manufacturing markets stand to benefit significantly from removed barriers to commerce included in the new trade deal. Last year, Iowa exported $4.2 billion worth of goods to Canada alone – which, represents 30% of the state’s total goods exports – and nearly $2.3 billion worth of goods to Mexico, according to the U.S. Trade Representative.

This new trade agreement opens the door to reinvigorate growth in Iowa’s agricultural industry, U.S. Undersecretary of Agriculture Bill Northey recently emphasized in an op-ed for the Des Moines Register. “USMCA maintains and strengthens the markets for both corn and soybeans, specifically to Mexico, which is Iowa corn’s No. 1 customer. USMCA [further] enhances access for poultry to two of our largest poultry markets,” he noted. “USMCA also expands the market for eggs, which Iowa produces more of than any other state… and maintains tariff-free access for United States beef shipped into Mexico and Canada, providing Iowa’s cattlemen continued longstanding market access.”

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley also highlighted the gains manufacturers would experience as a result of USMCA. “Iowa manufactures nearly $1.6 billion worth of transportation equipment, which includes auto parts. Iowa’s motor vehicle bodies and trailers exports Canada and Mexico increased by more than 70 percent over the last 10 years,” he wrote in a guest column for The Gazette.

Iowa’s top three exports to Canada

  • Nuclear Reactors, Boilers, Machinery Etc.; Parts
  • Vehicles, Except Railway or Tramway, and Parts Etc.
  • Miscellaneous Chemical Products

Iowa’s top three exports to Mexico

  • Cereals
  • Food Industry Residues and Waste and Prep Animal Feed
  • Sugars and Sugar Confectionary

Furthermore, out of the 12 million American jobs supported by trade with Canada and Mexico, nearly 130,000 of those currently exist in Iowa. Given these sector-by-sector opportunities for growth USMCA offers, it’s time to pass the trade agreement that could further benefit Iowa businesses, workers, and families.

To learn more about USMCA and its benefits for American businesses and workers, visit here.

About the authors

Zachary Friend

Zachary Friend is a former intern working with the Strategic Communications division at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.