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VP Mike Pence: We need the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement for trade

VP Mike Pence: We need the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement for trade

Pence Arizona

Vice President Mike Pence talks to employees of Caterpillar during a visit to the Tinaja Hills Demonstration and Learning Center in Green Valley.

The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.

On a recent visit to Arizona, I toured the proving grounds of manufacturing giant Caterpillar. Under President Trump’s administration, this iconic American business has been booming, but to keep this momentum going — for Caterpillar and businesses across the country — we’ve got to open more markets for selling U.S. products. That’s why I’m urging all Arizonans to call on Congress to pass the largest trade deal in American history: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Three years ago, the American people were enduring the slowest peacetime recovery since World War II, when then-candidate Donald Trump promised to revive the engine of opportunity.

That’s exactly what we’ve done. We’ve cut taxes, rolled back red tape, unleashed American energy, and forged free, fair and reciprocal trade deals that put America first.

The results have been remarkable. Unemployment has hit a 50-year low and the lowest levels ever recorded for African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans. Wages are rising at the fastest pace in a decade — and they’re rising fastest for blue-collar workers. And since Election Day 2016, businesses large and small have created 6.3 million new jobs, including nearly 200,000 jobs in the Grand Canyon State.

And unlike the last president, President Trump has made reviving American manufacturing a top priority.

You’ll remember back in 2016 when the last president asked what “magic wand” we had to bring manufacturing jobs back to our shores. But we didn’t need a magic wand; we just needed President Trump in the White House.

While the last administration saw America lose 200,000 manufacturing jobs, since President Trump’s election, we’ve seen more than half a million manufacturing jobs created all across America, including more than 18,000 here in Arizona.

But that’s just what this businessman-turned-President Donald Trump calls a “good start.”

To keep the momentum going, Congress must pass a trade deal that President Trump negotiated with our neighbors to the North and South: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

The USMCA is a needed replacement for the current North American Free Trade Agreement. When NAFTA was enacted, many of the technologies that we use today did not even exist, and so today there are virtually no protections for many of the innovations we now take for granted. The USMCA will create stronger protections for digital trade and guarantee the freedom to move digital data between Mexico, Canada, and the United States by prohibiting any country from blocking it.

The USMCA is a state-of-the-art trade deal, and if it becomes the law of the land it could serve as a template for trade deals in the future. According to the International Trade Commission, the USMCA will add more than $68 billion to our economy and create another 176,000 American jobs. That includes nearly 50,000 good manufacturing jobs like those at Caterpillar.

And so, for Arizona, for the manufacturing industry, and for America, we’ve got to get this done. Mexico has already ratified the USMCA, and Canada is ready to move as soon as we do. It’s time for Congress to act.

While Democrats in Congress have been trying to overturn the will of the American people by reversing Election Day 2016, our Administration will continue to fight for policies that create jobs and benefit American workers. So today, I’m here to urge Arizonans to call their elected representatives in Congress and tell them to pass the USMCA.

The USMCA is an idea whose time has come. Let’s put partisanship aside, put American jobs and American workers first, and give our economy a boost by passing the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement.

Mike Pence is vice president of the United States.

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