Axne Urges Action on USMCA

December 5, 2019
Press Release
Rep. Axne has been fighting to ensure a fair deal for farmers, manufacturers, and Iowa workers

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer urging action on the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA). The agreement is in the final stages of negotiations between Congressional leadership and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizier. With only 9 legislative days remaining before the end of the year, Rep. Axne is calling for action.

“Trade is fundamental to the state of Iowa,” Rep. Axne wrote. “Iowa ranks first in the nation in exports of corn, pork, feed and other grains, and is number two in soybeans. Last year alone Iowa exported $4.2 billion in goods to Canada, 30 percent of the state’s total exports, and $2.3 billion to Mexico. Overall, Iowa is the second largest agricultural exporting state in the country. Modernizing our trade agreement with our two closest neighbors is critical to ensuring market stability for Iowans.”

USMCA would modernize and build upon the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which went into effect in 1994. Rep. Axne has heard from many constituents across her district about the importance of ensuring market access for Iowa’s agricultural and manufacturing products in Canada and Mexico, Iowa’s top two trading partners. Iowa farmers are facing rising levels of farm debt and an EPA that is working to undermine the RFS, hurting demand for corn and soybeans, and are asking for certainty in this agreement.

“Iowa farmers have had a tough year with devastating weather across the state, ongoing trade wars harming export markets, and an EPA set on undermining the RFS and destroying demand for corn and soybeans,” Rep. Axne wrote.A finalized trade agreement would provide certainty for farmers and producers by ending the threat of back and forth retaliatory tariffs that this administration has pursued.”

In October, Rep. Axne spoke on the House floor and urged her colleagues to continue to work to finalize the agreement.

Also within the USMCA agreement are provisions dealing with labor standard protections and intellectual property rights for pharmaceuticals that the House Working Groups are still negotiating. Rep. Axne wants an agreement that will strengthen oversight standards so foreign companies don’t undercut U.S. jobs and wages, and help reduce the cost of biologic prescription drugs for Iowans.

"If we don't get the labor enforcement provisions right, Mexico will continue to undercut our pricing and our workers” Axne said. “That’s why I’m working hard to ensure we have enforcement mechanisms in place.”

A copy of the letter may be found here.

Full speech with audio available here: https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4824407/user-clip-ca-usmca-floor-speech