ANKENY, Iowa -- Vice President Mike Pence made the trip to Iowa Tuesday for a quick tour of Accumold Manufacturing Company and to speak to Iowans and industry leaders about the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
“I came here to Iowa to send one message and one message only today: Iowa and America need the Congress of the United States to pass the largest trade deal in American history. The time has come for Congress to pass the USMCA,” Pence said.
Pence said he believes the agreement will put American jobs and workers first.
“According to the International Trade Commission, the USMCA is actually going to add more than 175,000 jobs to our economy once it goes into effect. $68 billion to our economy just in the initial estimates and that includes nearly 50,000 manufacturing jobs that we expect to be created right out of the gate. That same estimate tells us that the USMCA will increase wages for American manufacturing workers,” Pence said.
Sukup Manufacturing Company President Charles Sukup said he thinks the agreement is a huge improvement over NAFTA and needs to be ratified soon.
“For trade, half of our exports for our company go to either Canada or Mexico, and years ago before NAFTA I remember our people telling me that it was more work and paperwork and hassle to ship to Canada than it was Europe, and that will drastically be improved,” Sukup said.
Daryl Bouwkamp, Vermeer Corporation's senior director of international business development and government affairs, said business as usual has been somewhat difficult with the agreement hanging in the balance.
“I think not just for the Canadian and Mexican markets but we see the USMCA as critical for other countries also wanting to negotiate with the United States. We [will] see a lot of other countries that don’t want to expend the political capital to engage in dialogue and negotiations with the United States if we can’t get this one over the goal line,” Bouwkamp said.
During the event Pence said he thinks all of the Democratic candidates running for president do not believe in the USMCA.
Many U.S. House Democrats are still unsure about the agreement and think changes need to be made to enforcement, labor, environmental standards and drug pricing.
Former U.S. Representative and 2020 presidential candidate John Delaney made a statement following Pence’s visit: "The benefits that USMCA has over NAFTA are some of the same provisions that made Trans-Pacific Partnership such a strong trade deal, which is why Trump’s decision to scrap the TPP was such a tragedy. Scrapping the TPP restricted markets available to Iowa’s farmers which Trump made even worse with his trade war on China, especially because not being in TPP gives us less leverage over China. Vice President Pence used to understand the value and support the TPP before he had to sing from Trump's songbook. After what Trump’s trade blunders have done to Iowa’s economy, Pence should be embarrassed to represent the Trump administration on trade in Iowa."
At the end of his visit, Pence encouraged all Iowans to reach out to legislators about the agreement.