Iowa has long been the heart of America's food production, and continues to grow its role as a producer for the world, exporting over $13 billion worth of goods in 2017. Iowa's exports also benefit many other parts of its economy as well, with international trade supporting more than 400,000 jobs in the state.

Job Creation

  • In Iowa, 402,700 jobs (19.4%) are supported by trade, including 93,941 jobs supported by manufactured goods exports in 2016.1
  • In 2015, 3,221 companies exported goods from Iowa of which 83% were small- and medium-sized enterprises. In 2015, 56,400 people were employed by affiliates of companies at least 50% foreign-owned.2

Exports and Growth

  • Iowa exported $13.2 billion in goods to foreign markets in 2017. Iowa's largest markets in 2017 were:2
    • Canada ($4 billion)
    • Mexico ($2.2 billion)
    • Japan ($1 billion)
    • China ($560 million)
    • Germany ($390 million)
  • Agricultural exports are important to Iowa's' economy, totaling $10.6 billion in 2016, according to the USDA.3
  • Since 2013, the U.S. Export-Import Bank has financed $139 million in exports from 31 companies in Iowa.4
  • Since 1971, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation has invested $3 million in Iowa companies for overseas investment.5

Education and Research

  • In 2015-2016, 5,670 Iowa students studied abroad.6
  • During 2017, 12,488 international students were enrolled in Iowa colleges and universities and contributed $378 million to the Iowa economy.6

Global Engagement

  • Since 1961, 2,420 Peace Corps volunteers from Iowa have served in dozens of countries overseas.7