Heads nodded and the crowd cheered as Senators Chuck Grassley and Blanche Lincoln, as well as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig passed the microphone down the line at the Iowa State Fair varied industries building, where each politician shared their support for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) hosted the three politicians at the Iowa State Fair last Friday. With wide eyes and open ears, farmers and consumers circled the IDALS booth, waiting to hear from each speaker.
Senator Chuck Grassley jump started the discussion by noting the North American Free Trade Agreements (NAFTA) expiration date.
“I like to think, in terms of NAFTA, being a 25 year old agreement that we all know has been very, very good for agriculture. But after 25 years, it’s outdated. There’s a lot of things in this agreement that brings an update. The digital environments we’re in now, the intellectual property that it is going to protect that the previous agreement didn’t protect. It brings about new jobs and new investment in America. But the most important thing is that North America is pretty well integrated, and the extent to which it is integrated, we are able to build on that. Crossing these borders, economically, is very important. And this does it,” said Grassley.
Former Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln, a good friend of Grassley’s, also stressed the need for amending U.S. trade agreements.
“If you look at the difference between what happened in 1993, when we were seeing about maybe four billion; 3.5 billion dollars worth of products going into Mexico and Canada to 2017, when there’s almost 40 billion dollars worth of our products going into those countries. How incredibly important it is, as Chuck says, to update what were doing. Over those years, things have changed,” said Lincoln.