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Pence vows that USMCA passage will provide boost to Pennsylvania manufacturing

FILE - Mike Pence 10-21-2019

Vice President Mike Pence speaks Oct. 21, 2019, at the opening ceremony of the International Astronautical Congress in Washington. The vice president gave a second speech later in the day in Duryea, Pennsylvania.

 

When Vice President Mike Pence stopped in Duryea, Pennsylvania, to make the case that the U.S. House of Representatives should vote on the proposed trade deal between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, he made a point of 2020 electioncalibrating his remarks for a local audience.

“I came to Pennsylvania to say it's time for the Democrats in Congress to put Pennsylvania first, it's time to pass the USMCA,” Pence said during a speech to workers at glass manufacturer Schott North America. “I came here to tell all of you that it's time has come for [U.S. Rep.] Matt Cartwright to tell his leadership in the Congress that Pennsylvania needs the USMCA and we need it this year.”

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is a trade deal between the three nations intended to replace NAFTA, the previous deal that went into effect in 1994 during the administration of President Bill Clinton. President Donald Trump and others have argued that NAFTA created incentives for companies to move manufacturing jobs overseas, hurting communities in states like Pennsylvania that were highly reliant on the sector.

 
 

“Pennsylvanians today already export more than $15 billion of your goods and services to Canada and Mexico every year,” Pence said. “And under the USMCA … that's only going to grow, once we sign it into law, and it's going to create more jobs and more opportunities here in Pennsylvania.”

The topic of trade has been a thorny one for the Trump administration. The USMCA needs to be ratified by Congress, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, has delayed bringing it up for a vote. At the same time, the U.S. and China have imposed a series of punitive tariffs on one another in moves that economists say have hurt some sectors of the U.S. economy.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, a contender for the Democratic nomination for president, took aim at his successor in advance of Monday’s speech, arguing that the current administration has failed to properly steer the nation’s trade policy.

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