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Pence to return to Iowa to promote passage of USMCA trade deal

Vice president will attend event Wednesday in Waukee

Vice President Mike Pence greets supporters at Sen. Joni Ernst’s third annual Roast and Ride in June 2017 in Boone. Pence will return to Iowa next week to attend an event in Waukee promoting the USMCA trade deal, in addition to a campaign event for Ernst. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Vice President Mike Pence greets supporters at Sen. Joni Ernst’s third annual Roast and Ride in June 2017 in Boone. Pence will return to Iowa next week to attend an event in Waukee promoting the USMCA trade deal, in addition to a campaign event for Ernst. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Vice President Mike Pence will visit Iowa on Wednesday to campaign for congressional passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and for Sen. Joni Ernst’s reelection.

Pence will be a guest of America First Policies, which is hosting “USMCA: A Better Deal for American Workers” at Manning Farms in Waukee. He’s scheduled to speak at 2:45 p.m.

America First Policies is a nonprofit that backs President Donald Trump.

The event is part of a series featuring speakers discussing the USMCA and how the trade deal will benefit the economy and American workers in the Waukee area, the state of Iowa and the nation as a whole, according to America First Policies.

The Trump administration is pushing for passage of the trade deal that a spokesman for the vice president said is important “for obvious reasons” on Iowa’s agricultural front. Pence, who visited Iowa in July to promote the USMCA, likely will draw attention to China’s recent purchase of more than 2 million tons of soybeans, which the spokesman said is a welcome change in the tenor of trade talks.

It was the largest purchase by private Chinese importers since Beijing raised import tariffs on U.S. soybeans in July 2018 by 25 percent. That was in retaliation for U.S. duties on goods imported from China.

The purchases ahead of high-level trade talks are seen as a sign of easing trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Passage of the USMCA is seen as aiding American crop and meat producers who have been hurt by lower exports to Chinese markets during the trade war that has lasted more than a year. Canada and Mexico are Iowa’s largest trading partners.

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Although the U.S. House has not taken up the USMCA, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has indicated she will bring it to the floor when she has the support needed.

Pence also will attend a “victory celebration” for Ernst, a first-term Republican senator seeking reelection in 2020.

He’s maintained an active schedule supporting Ernst and other GOP members of the 2014 Senate class who are up for reelection. Pence’s spokesman also noted Waukee is in the 3rd District, one of two Iowa congressional districts the president carried in 2016 that were won by Democratic challengers in 2018. Iowa’s 1st District is the other.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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