As Iowa farmers face as much as two-billion dollars in losses due to international trade tariffs, the Trump administration is announcing a tentative trade agreement with Mexico.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says President Trump has his mind set on eliminating the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, a longstanding deal between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
“I’m encouraged by the progress made,” Grassley says. “I’m also hopeful that a fair trade deal will be struck with Canada so we can still have a trilateral agreement as opposed to bilateral between us and Mexico.” Grassley says he held 20 town hall meetings in Iowa this month and at every one, the issue of trade was brought up by concerned residents. For many farmers in Iowa and elsewhere, we’re in the fifth straight year of falling revenues.
“The sooner we get a new agreement in place, the sooner farmers and business people in Iowa and across the country can focus on exporting,” Grassley says, “particularly for Iowa, exporting our agricultural products to Mexico and Canada without any concern of tariffs.” Any trade agreement the Trump administration may make must be ratified by Congress. Grassley notes the law stipulates Congress needs to be notified 90 days before it can be sent such a measure for approval.
“The hope is to get this done within the United States Congress before this Congress adjourns,” Grassley says, “and before a new president is sworn in in Mexico, which is December the 1st.” Iowa’s senior senator, a Republican, acknowledges the White House took the risk of upsetting Canada’s leadership by announcing this tentative trade deal with Mexico first.
“Yeah, I suppose it irritates Canada but I’m sure this is the administration’s strategy, to put pressure on Canada.” Canada is Iowa’s number-one trading partner, with nearly double the market of Mexico for Iowa exports.