WASHINGTON — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is chairing a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee this morning to discuss the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is scheduled to testify. Grassley, a Republican, is anxious for the replacement treaty for the North American Free Trade Agreement — or NAFTA — to be ratified. “Free trade with Canada and Mexico has been critical to the success of Iowa farmers and businesses,” Grassley says. “There’s 130,000 Iowa jobs supported by trade with Canada and Mexico.”

According to Grassley, passage of the USMCAwould bring higher wages, greater productivity and more jobs. “We have farmers, workers and businesses standing to greatly benefit from the Mexico Canadian agreement,” Grassley says. “More market access, new commitments in critical areas like customs, digital trade, intellectual property, labor, environment, currency.”

Grassley says six and six-tenths billion dollars in Iowa goods and services are being exported to those neighbors. On another trade issue, Grassley says he applauds President Trump for “confronting” China and he hopes a deal can be reached that will result in structural changes in China and the elimination of tariffs. “I do not agree that tariffs should be a tool that we use in every instance in our trade policy,” Grassley says. “Importers and consumers pay for these tariffs. I urge the administration to do everything it can to use tariffs as only a last resort.”

USMCA has not gone to a vote in Congress as the agreement hasn’t been sent there yet by the Trump administration. After the White House sends the treaty to Congress, members of the House and Senate will have 30 days to ratify it.