Rep. Axne Praises Deal on the USMCA

December 10, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON –U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) released the following statement today after Speaker Pelosi’s announcement on the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“I am pleased that the USMCA is ready,” Rep. Axne said. “I have long been an advocate for getting this agreement done so our farmers and manufacturers can have certainty in our two largest markets. Farmers have had a tough few years, with a harmful trade war, devastating weather and a RFS being undermined by the EPA. This agreement would provide certainty for farmers and producers by ending the threat of back and forth retaliatory tariffs that this administration has pursued. I am thankful that the House Working Group and U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer​ worked in good faith and negotiated a better deal for all Americans and did so before the year end.”

Rep. Axne has been a leader in calling for action on USMCA. In October, Rep. Axne spoke on the House floor and urged her colleagues to continue to work to finalize the agreement. Last Thursday, Rep. Axne sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Leader Hoyer and called for action on the USMCA before the end of the year.

“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. The three countries signed USMCA in November of 2018 and on May 30, 2019 the administration submitted the text of the agreement to Congress. Speaker Pelosi then convened the House Working Group to review the text and negotiate with Ambassador Lighthizer over final provisions. Rep. Axne raised concerns about the provisions dealing with labor enforcement mechanisms and intellectual property rights for pharmaceuticals. She remained committed to ensuring the final deal would improve upon labor protections and enforcements from NAFTA.

"The enhanced labor protections in the USMCA are good news for Iowa workers. If we didn’t work so hard to get this right, we would continue to see Iowa workers undermined and our American-made products undercut. This is an improvement that will benefit Iowa workers and keep our middle class strong ” Axne said. “I am also glad that the biologics title was removed so Iowa families will not face higher costs for certain pharmaceuticals.”

A copy of the letter Rep. Axne sent last week may be found here.