Leaving NAFTA could be 'devastating,' Gov. Kim Reynolds says

Governor Kim Reynolds told reporters Monday that changes to trade policies with Canada and Mexico could have "devastating" effects on Iowa's ag economy. (Caroline Cummings)

Leaving NAFTA would be "devastating" for Iowa and other Midwestern states, Gov. Kim Reynolds said Monday.

At her weekly press conference, Reynolds told reporters that if the U.S. pulls out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, it could have "unintended consequences" on Iowa's farmers and manufacturers if President Trump pulls out of the agreement or imposes tariffs on steel and aluminum imports if a new NAFTA agreement isn’t signed, which the president threatened in a series of tweets Monday.

“I’ve said I’m OK with modernizing NAFTA it’s a 25-year-old plus trade agreement so that makes sense but I’m not in favor of withdrawing. The impact that that would have on our state and Midwestern states, and really states all across the country but I’m focused on Iowa, would be devastating," Reynolds said.

Canada and Mexico are the top two exports for Iowa, Reynolds noted.

"It's about finding balance and eliminating uncertainty that comments like that have especially on agriculture states like Iowa," Reynolds said of the president's tweets.

Reynolds said she spoke with Trump and Vice President Pence last week when she was in Washington for the National Governors' Association conference last week. She takes advantage of any opportunity to discuss trade initiatives with members of the Trump administration, Reynolds said.

"We're really interested in helping them find some wins and solutions, but that means but that means modernizing NAFTA, not pulling out. And that means being very careful as we talk about applying tariffs," Reynolds said.

She hopes to continue the conversation with Vice President Pence when he’s in Council Bluffs for a rally on the federal tax reform bill Tuesday.

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