Guest Columnist

Hinson: Congress must ratify the USMCA

Representative Ashley Hinson, R-Marion, 2019 Iowa Legislature
Representative Ashley Hinson, R-Marion, 2019 Iowa Legislature

While Washington politicians pay lip service to a desire to ease the plights of farmers and manufacturing workers, they now have the chance to do it. Congress should move now to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

America’s farmers, workers and businesses will benefit greatly from the USMCA, especially here in Iowa, where one out of every five jobs are trade-related, and the agriculture industry accounts for one-third of the dollars driving our state’s economy. A 2019 Business Roundtable study found that last year alone, $6.6 billion in Iowa goods and services were exported to Canada and Mexico, more than the next 27 export partners combined.

After NAFTA, which sent many Iowa jobs overseas, this successor agreement will create greater market access for agriculture and provide new export opportunities for dairy farmers and poultry and egg producers.

Lowering non-tariff barriers will help create higher wages and more jobs. The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that the USMCA would raise U.S. employment by 176,000 jobs, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) estimates this would create $23 billion in new U.S. auto part purchases and result in 76,000 U.S. auto jobs.

The bottom line — the USMCA is a win for the American worker and our northern and southern neighbors.

That’s why this agreement was signed on November 30, 2018, ratified by Mexico and has support from Canada. Passing the USMCA through Congress should be a no brainer, right?

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to bring this critical legislation to a vote. First District Democratic U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer refuses to stand up to her on behalf of Iowans.

Would Pelosi and Finkenauer prefer these purchases and jobs go to Mexico?

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Business leaders across Iowa have already voiced support for the USMCA — including the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, which collectively represent more than 6,000 Iowa businesses.

After struggling for years under flawed trade agreements, Iowa families shouldn’t have to wait a moment longer for their congressmen and women to signal support and take action.

Republican or Democrat, if you claim to have the backs of hardworking Iowans, you need to put your vote where your mouth is and stop playing politics with Iowans’ livelihoods.

I’m calling on our representatives in Washington to get the USMCA across the finish line — because it is personal for Iowa’s farmers, manufacturers and small businesses. Their future depends on it.

• Ashley Hinson is a Republican state representative from Marion and a candidate for Congress in the 1st District.

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