Pence

Vice President Mike Pence waved to supporters on Oct. 21 at Schott Glass in Duryea, Pa., celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary and promoting the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement. On Saturday, he will tour Patriot Industries in Louisa County.

Today I’m visiting Virginia and touring Patriot Industries, a steel and aluminum products manufacturer in Louisa County. Under President Donald Trump’s administration, the manufacturing industry has been booming, but to keep this momentum going — for Patriot Industries and businesses across the country — we must open more markets for selling U.S. products. That’s why I’m urging all Virginians to call on Congress to pass the largest trade deal in American history: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Three years ago when then-candidate Trump promised to revive the engine of opportunity, the American people were enduring one of the slowest recoveries since the Great Depression.

Under Trump, 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.

Since Election Day 2016, businesses large and small have created more than 6.4 million new jobs, including more than 92,000 jobs in Virginia.

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

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

And the president has done all that while keeping America safe at home and abroad. Just last weekend, America’s special operations forces took down ISIS terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The success of the mission from start to finish is a tribute to the courage of our armed forces, the special forces that executed the raid on the compound and to the decisiveness of our commander in chief.

But all of that is just what this businessman-turned-president calls a “good start.”

To keep the momentum going, Congress should pass a trade deal that the president 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 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 among 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. In 2018, Virginia exported $4.3 billion worth of goods to Canada and Mexico. Under the USMCA, that number will only grow. 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 Patriot Industries.

And so, for Virginia, for the manufacturing industry and for America, Congress needs to pass the USMCA. 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 so many in Congress have spent the past 2 1/2 years on endless investigations, trying to overturn the will of the American people in the last election, our administration has fought for policies that create jobs and benefit American workers — and we will never stop fighting. So today, I’m here to urge Virginians 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.

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Mike Pence is vice president of the United States.

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