The United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) continues to receive support from countless Iowans — from traditional supporters like agriculture and manufacturing to banks, hospitals, city governments and local business that understand the importance the agreement has on our local economy. The resounding stream of support comes from all four corners of our state, and we urge our elected federal representation to heed their call.

Members of the Iowa Business Council met with our federal delegation in early September and delivered a clear message: Congress must pass USMCA. As chief executives from some of Iowa's largest industries, we represent not only agriculture and manufacturing but health care, IT, retail, transportation, publishing, energy, financial services and construction. Our members know the critical nature of having a stable local economy, reliable trading partners, and economic credibility on the global stage.

The passage of the USMCA isn't just about trade; the agreement's tentacles span much further. The implications of a stabilized economy extend not only to the fields where harvest is just around the corner but to the labs where life-changing experiments are being conducted. It reinforces confidence in the manufacturing lines that feed Iowa's innovation and the local businesses that are the lifeblood of our communities. In many ways, Iowa's solid foundation has been built because of our strong relationships with our international trading partners.

The new agreement provides additional certainty, access to increased career opportunities and updated provisions to protect our country's innovations. It will allow increased market access for agriculture, better oversight over critical areas like digital trade, labor, environment and intellectual property and will translate into more spending power and greater productivity for Iowans.

According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, USMCA creates 176,000 new jobs in the United States, and will increase real GDP by $68.2 billion. It will also increase American agricultural and food exports by $2.2 billion. With Mexico and Canada alone purchasing more U.S.-made products than our next 10 trading partners, we know how critical this agreement is to our economic future.

As a collective, the Iowa Business Council employs 1 in every 6 Iowans. Locally, we understand the importance of giving back to our communities. Many of our companies rely on global supply chains to create products in the U.S. for our customers. Free trade within North America is key to success, allowing us to continue hard-fought and well-developed relationships with international suppliers and customers. These channels enable us to remain competitive and cost effective when promoting our products globally, which contributes to our team members' and Iowa's economic prosperity.

As 2020 nears, we know many elected officials start staring down the clock to November elections, their schedules become busier and campaigns take precedence. That's why now is the time to prioritize the passage of the USMCA and deliver a win for Iowans. It's good for farmers, it's good for business, it's good for Iowans. This must not wait; we urge Congress to pass USMCA today.

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Gage Kent is the chairman and chief executive officer of Kent Corporation. Jeff Lorenger is the president and chief executive officer of HNI Corporation. Both companies are based in Muscatine, Iowa. Mr. Kent & Mr. Lorenger serve on the Iowa Business Council, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose 23 members are the chief decision makers of some of the state's largest employers.


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