Eau Claire (WQOW) – The vice president spoke on the benefits of the new U.S. – Mexico – Canada Trade Agreement during a stop in Eau Claire on Thursday.
Vice President Mike Pence called on Congress to ratify the agreement saying it will help people right here in the Chippewa Valley.
The deal, which was signed by the presidents of the three countries in November, replaces NAFTA.
The new deal keeps most of the original terms of NAFTA in place but adds new protections for American auto companies, and workers, and increases American dairy farmers’ access to Canada’s market.
Thursday at J&D Manufacturing in Eau Claire, Pence called the trade deal a win for Wisconsin.
“The USMCA is going to give American producers a level playing field, you need to compete as you continue to feed the world,” Pence said. “It’s true. The USMCA is actually going to end programs in Canada that allow low-price products to undercut the incredible dairy here in Wisconsin. The USMCA is a win for Wisconsin dairy and a win for American dairy and we need it to pass.”
The new deal must still be ratified by Congress before it can take effect. The vice president specifically called on Senator Tammy Baldwin and Representative Ron Kind to give their support to the deal.
Local Representative Jesse James was at the event on Thursday to show support for Pence and the trade deal. He said he is worried about farmers and is concerned about more than their livelihood if an agreement isn’t made to ease their burdens.
“Suicide with our farmers is on the rise,” James said. “It’s absolutely insane. You know, we always think of our youth being the most vulnerable to suicide, but our Wisconsin farmers right now are hurting so bad that they don’t know what to do.
James said part of the reason farms are dying is because the next generation isn’t wanting to take over their family farms because there is no money in it today.
According to the Department of Agriculture, 700 dairy farms were lost in Wisconsin last year alone.
James said it is important to protect and stand up for farmers because that what Wisconsin is base on.