Pence touts benefits of trade agreement during stop at Waukee farm



Robbie Sequeira | Ames Tribune

Vice President Mike Pence didn’t mince words in his visit to Manning Farms in Waukee on Wednesday — urging Democrats in Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement by the end of the year — a move he says will bring enumerable benefits to Iowa in regards to manufacturing and farming.

“It’s time for the Democrats in Congress to do their job, put politics aside and pass the USMCA this year,” Pence said. “The truth is, and we all know it, Democrats have been spending all their time on endless investigations and a partisan impeachment. But enough is enough.”

To a crowd of more than 500 supporters at the America First Policies event, Pence touted the Trump Administration’s dedication to an agenda he says favors Iowans, citing “promises made and promises kept,” and noted the USCMA is an example of the president’s commitment to Iowan agriculture.

USMCA, if approved via congressional vote, would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement enacted in 1994, and Pence said its passage would drive demand for the state’s farm goods. Previously, President Donald Trump stated NAFTA is “the worst trade deal ever.”

Mexico and Canada are among Iowa’s largest agricultural trade partners, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They also make up roughly $14 million Iowa’s total exports, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

“USMCA is a great opportunity for Iowa workers and Iowa businesses,” Pence said. “Time has come for Congresswoman Cindy Axne (who represents Iowa’s 3rd District) and all the Democrats in Congress that represent Iowa to put Iowa first, American first — pass the USMCA this year.”

When Trump rolled out the deal in July, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi insisted the Democrats would not pass the deal without tweaks to include greater environmental protections. Pence said Iowans should keep in mind no major 2020 Democratic candidate has come out in support of the deal.

Iowa’s agricultural market has been caught in the crosshairs of the U.S.-China trade war. When Chinese officials enforced retaliatory tariffs in response to the U.S. imposing tariffs on more than 800 Chinese products on July 2018, Iowa’s corn and soybean markets were hit hard.


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