Vice President Mike Pence took the Trump administration’s call on Congress to Wisconsin manufacturing Thursday, pushing passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA).
Pence explained to J&D Manufacturing employees that he was in Wisconsin to talk about the freshly signed three-nation trade deal to replace the outdated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). J&D produces “some of the nation’s finest agriculture equipment,” a fact he pointed out as the crowd met with laughter and applause.
The vice president described his home state of Indiana has having “almost entire communities shuttered, as factories closed after NAFTA and moved south of the border.” He then resolved: “those days are over.”
“Experts tell us the USMCA is going to impact more than 2 million manufacturing jobs that depend on exports to Canada and Mexico,” Pence stated. “It’s absolutely essential that we get it passed by the Congress because it will finally allow American workers to be able to compete in this hemisphere on a level playing field.”
“The USMCA is actually going to end programs in Canada that allow low-priced products to undercut the incredible dairy farmers here in Wisconsin,” he highlighted. “The USMCA is a win for Wisconsin dairy and for American dairy. And we need it to pass.”
He said the new USMCA addresses gaps in NAFTA. “For manufacturing, under the old NAFTA deal, if a specific manufactured product wasn’t mentioned in NAFTA, it was considered to be outside the agreement,” he explained. “That actually created an opportunity for nations like China to manufacture goods and sell them into the marketplace — send them into Mexico, send them in Canada. And then, they’d come into our country completely duty free.”
“The clock is ticking … We need the Congress to approve the USMCA, and we need Congress to approve the USMCA this year,” the vice president said to more applause.
Vice President Pence said he and President Donald Trump have done their jobs and it’s time for Congress to act, but he added, “You all are going to be the people that make the difference.”
“America’s manufacturers need to be heard. American agriculture needs to be heard. And we need to hear from Wisconsin. We need to hear from the backbone of this American economy — the Heartland of America,” Pence said as he urged his “fellow citizens” to voice to elected officials how they feel about the USMCA.
Pence lauded Sen. Ron Johnson, who was present, for supporting the deal while at the same time he lobbied the crowd to press Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Ron Kind to vote for the deal.