Mike Pence and Iowa leaders talk USMCA in Waukee


Vice President Mike Pence speaks on the USMCA on Oct. 9 in Waukee.

Olivia Benjamin

Vice President Mike Pence visited a family farm in Waukee, Iowa on Wednesday to talk about the positive effect the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will have for farmers if it is ratified by Congress.

One year ago, President Trump negotiated the largest trade deal in American history, the USMCA, Pence said.

“He put American jobs, American workers and American farmers first. As I stand before you today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in Congress refuse to bring it [USMCA] to the floor of the House of Representatives, and that is why I’m here,” Pence said. “I came to Iowa today to turn up the heat. It’s time for the Democrats in Congress to do their job, put politics aside and pass the USMCA this year.”

Jen Sorenson, communications director of Iowa Select Farms, said Iowa Select Farms is on track to produce about 1.5 billion pounds of pork this year.

“If you do the rough napkin math, that’s about 180 million pounds of pork that we’ll be exporting to Mexico and Canada, which tells you how important exports are to Iowa and Iowa farmers,” Sorenson said. “Now if we took away that market, that would be about 140 farms out of production. Even more importantly, it would be a $60 million economic loss to the state of Iowa every year. So, these trade agreements are so important to our state and to farmers.”

The United States, Mexico and Canada conducted negotiations on the USMCA to modernize the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA took effect in 1994 and was supposed to last in perpetuity. The USMCA is supposed to start in 2020, once it has been ratified by the legislatures of all three countries, and will also be reviewed every six years.

The USMCA would result in higher pay for auto workers, a more effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property in all three countries and the ability to export about $560 million worth of dairy products to Canada, which uses supply-management to control the price of dairy products in the country.

“USMCA is a much-needed update to NAFTA that will bring our trade relationship with Canada and Mexico into the 21st century,” said Gov. Kim Reynolds. “USMCA is strong, balanced and reflects the dynamic economy in which we live. USMCA will create new opportunities for our families, farmers, manufacturers and small businesses while opening new markets for our exports. President Trump and Vice President Pence were elected on a promise to update NAFTA, and they’ve delivered. Now it’s time for congress to put partisanship aside and to do their job.”