Vice President Pence touts trade deal during St. Paul visit

Vice President Mike Pence was touting his administration's trade deal during his visit to Minnesota, where he made stops in Clay County and in St. Paul Thursday.

“The days of undermining American manufacturing and undercutting American workers are over,” said Vice President Mike Pence to a crowd of about 200 steel workers in St. Paul. “America is making a stand for free and fair trade.”

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement is the Trump administration’s proposed replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement. While the three countries agreed to the deal late last year, it has failed to get support from House Democrats who want more protections for labor and the environment.

“The truth is, we’ve done our jobs, the president has done his job, now it’s time for Congress to do their job and pass the largest trade deal in American history,” said Pence.

Gerdau Steel, where Pence gave his speech Thursday afternoon, employs about 400 Minnesotans. The company reports that since President Donald Trump has been in office, they’ve increased shipments by 23 percent, added jobs and increased North American investments. Pence says a new trade agreement would only add to that growth.

“To keep the momentum in this economy rolling, we know we need to level the playing field for American workers by forging trade deals that put American workers and American jobs first,” said Pence.

Pence started the day at a farm in northwestern Minnesota where the focus remained the USMCA. 

Members of Minnesota's DFL Party say the Trump-Pence administration has been filled with broken promises for Minnesota farmers.

“Our message is very clear to Vice President Pence and President Trump. Majority of Minnesotans already voted against you once. There are nothing that your policies have done to improve the people's lives throughout this country or here in this state,” said DFL Chairman Ken Martin. 

Martin says exports are down, crop prices are down and farm bankruptcies are up thanks to trade wars.