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Mike Pence: Time for Congress to ‘do its job’ on NAFTA rewrite

May 20, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence told Congress to get moving and pass the White Houses rewrite of the North American trade deal before autumn, after President Trump cleared a major hurdle by agreeing with Canada and Mexico to lift tariffs on aluminum and steel.

The president has done his job. Its time for the Congress do its job and pass the USMCA this summer, he told a friendly crowd in Jacksonville, Florida, using the shorthand name for the United StatesMexicoCanada Agreement.

Lawmakers in both parties say the tariffs agreement with U.S. neighbors, announced Friday, make it more likely that Congress will approve Mr. Trumps trilateral deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.”

U.S. industries, especially agriculture, are relieved theyll no longer be hit with retaliatory tariffs from the two major U.S. trading partners.

Mr. Pence said the underlying trade deal, if approved, would level the playing field for American manufacturers and farmers.

It would prevent Canadians from undercutting U.S. dairy farmers on price, while barring places like China from dumping products into the U.S. duty-free via one of the U.S.s neighbors.

“Many of these things were never even addressed in NAFTA, Mr. Pence said. We are not going to allow an outdated trade deal hurts Americans farmers or American manufacturers anymore.”

Democrats, who control the House, say they still have concerns about the particulars of the USMCA, so approval is not a slam dunk.

Mr. Pence urged Americans to lean on power brokers in Washington, saying its the only way to compel action.

“The truth is we need to hear it. We need to hear from all of you, Mr. Pence said. The clock is ticking. Its time.

Mondays event is the first in a series of events being organized by America First Policies, a nonprofit group formed to promote Mr. Trump’s agenda. It hopes to seal a win for the president on trade, and says it wont be afraid to pressure reluctant lawmakers on their home turf.

Its sister super PAC, America First Action, says overhauling the Clinton-era NAFTA deal is its top priority.

Its where the action is right now, and getting Congress to approve it would clear the decks for Mr. Trumps big trade fight with China.

Farmers are skittish about the escalating dispute with the Chinese, though Mr. Trump is floating billions more in bailout payments to protect the agriculture sector and retain its loyalty. Hes also highlighting parallel relief provided by the North American developments.

The president said any farmers who arent seeing their tariffs eased, starting Monday, should take their complaints directly to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

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