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 $14 billion worth of goods in 2018. Iowa's exports also benefit many other parts of its economy as well, with international trade supporting more than 430,000 jobs in the state.

Job Creation

  • In Iowa, 432,600 jobs were supported by international trade in 2017, representing 20.9% of all jobs in the state.1,2
  • In 2016, 3,163 companies exported goods from Iowa of which 83% were small- and medium-sized enterprises. In 2016, 60,300 people were employed by affiliates of companies at least 50% foreign-owned.2,3

Exports and Growth

  • Iowa exported $14.3 billion in goods to foreign markets in 2018. Iowa's largest markets in 2018 were:4
    • Canada ($4.2 billion)
    • Mexico ($2.3 billion)
    • Japan ($964 million)
    • China ($626 million)
    • Germany ($456 million)
  • Agricultural exports are important to Iowa's' economy, totaling $10.3 billion in 2017, according to the USDA.5
  • Since 2014, the U.S. Export-Import Bank has financed $120 million in exports from 29 companies in Iowa.6
  • Since 1971, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation has invested $3 million in Iowa companies for overseas investment.7
  • Since 1992, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency has helped facilitate $156 million in exports from Iowa companies, supporting an estimated 850 jobs in the state.8

Education and Research

  • In 2016-2017, 5,904 Iowa students studied abroad.9
  • During 2018, 13,362 international students were enrolled in Iowa colleges and universities and contributed $438 million to the Iowa economy.9

Global Engagement

  • Since 1961, 2,496 Peace Corps volunteers from Iowa have served in dozens of countries overseas.10