As the second largest exporter of agricultural goods in the nation, trade is vital to our economy in Iowa. 415,000 jobs are supported by trade in our state, and in 2018, Iowa exported roughly $14.4 billion in goods and services. As such, our farmers, producers, manufacturers, and agricultural community rely on strong trade agreements that open foreign markets and maintain our global competitiveness. However, we still import far more product than we export, which has ballooned our trade deficit and requires real solutions.
Our trade deficit – which reflects the financial imbalance between our nation’s investment and savings rates – stands at nearly $1 trillion; a 15 percent increase from 2022. This disparity threatens our economic vitality, depresses American wages, jeopardizes domestic manufacturing, and increases our reliance on foreign countries for everything from medicine to crude oil. Of that 15 percent deficit increase, energy imports such as oil, natural gas, and other petroleum products led the imbalance at a time where we could use homegrown ethanol and biodiesel to make our country energy independent again and lower fuel prices for our families and farmers. In the United States, we are blessed with an abundant supply of energy – from ethanol and biodiesel to natural gas and oil – to power our nation and fuel our economy. By securing our energy independence and increasing domestic energy production, we can begin to lower our trade deficit in a sustainable, economically impactful way.
While our trade deficit increased by $103 billion in its entirety, our bilateral trade deficit with China – which remains our largest by far – grew by an additional $29.4 billion. In 2022 alone, the United States imported $538 billion in product from China, while China only exported to the United States $151 billion. This is unacceptable, unsustainable, and alarming. China is buying up our farmland, violating our sovereign airspace, and manufacturing deadly fentanyl that flows through our Southern border and into our rural communities. We cannot turn a blind eye to our growing trade deficit and China’s clear intentions. It’s past time the Biden Administration hold China accountable for their unfair trade practices that disadvantage Iowa farmers, producers, and manufacturers.
As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Agriculture Committee, I pledge to work with my colleagues to negotiate fair trade agreements for our producers, open foreign markets for Iowa agriculture, and hold the Biden Administration accountable for its lackluster trade agenda. Our farmers, producers, manufacturers, and agricultural community deserve a strong voice and a seat at the table in Congress. I promise to deliver both for Iowa.
We are government together, and your thoughts and opinions matter to me. Please contact my office at Feenstra.House.Gov or by phone at 202-225-4426 if I can ever be of assistance. I am proud to represent our families, farmers, main street businesses, and rural communities in Congress.