It’s time to bring America together again—and that’s why I’m asking Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate to lead in ratifying a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.
Please join together now and approve a deal that will begin to turn the page on the harmful trade wars of the last two and a half years. Ongoing trade disputes have damaged our economy, threatened our global leadership, and divided our country.
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) would replace NAFTA, the trade deal signed into law by President Clinton in 1993. In the USMCA, we have a fully negotiated and modernized agreement with our two most reliable and important trading partners. On May 30, the Trump administration notified Congress that it’s ready to start the formal approval process for the USMCA.
It’s time to take the high road. Let’s rise above the latest obstacles, keep our focus and prove to our allies that we want to be a reliable trading partner. Together, elected leaders of both parties can show that we all can put the good of the nation in front of partisan political interests.
Although some members in the House of Representatives are skeptical of USMCA, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has signaled that she thinks she can navigate the deal through her chamber: “I can get to yes,” she told a colleague, according to the New York Times. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, echoed Pelosi in an interview with Bloomberg: “We are trying to get to yes.”
So let’s get there. Let’s approve a trade agreement that works for more Americans than its predecessor and move forward with expanding U.S. competitiveness in new, growing markets around the globe. Let’s reestablish the stability and certainty that America needs.
We sure do need it here in Floyd County, Iowa, where my family grows corn and soybeans on our farm. We depend on export markets. One third of what we grow ships to customers in other countries. Or at least it does when we’re not getting entangled in trade conflicts. The tariffs are killing us and the trade wars are not easy to win.
That’s why I recently hopped aboard the “Motorcade for Trade,” which is traveling across the U.S. to spread our message about the importance of trade to politicians and the public. The Voice of America posted a video report on our road trip.
I am a past president of the National Corn Growers Association and a past president of Maizall, the international corn growers alliance. Like many other farmers, I have worked around the world to build relationships with the people who buy made-in-America farm goods. Several years ago, I visited Mexico to meet with customers and thank them for their purchases of U.S. grains. I’ll never forget what one of them said later in 2017: “You don’t need to convince us that our business is important to you. We know that. You need to convince your president.”
So, I’m trying to convince everybody, from the man in the Oval Office to legislators in the U.S. House and the Senate, to ordinary citizens who don’t think too hard about how their food moves from farms to forks.
The message is simple: We need USMCA.
We need it for our family farms. We need it for jobs in rural America. We need it for the whole nation.
We have a lot of work to do—and we must begin with a truly bipartisan effort that issues the first ceasefire in our disastrous trade wars.
Let’s approve USMCA before it’s too late.
Let’s get to yes.
A version of this column first appeared at The Hill.