Vice President Mike Pence talks trade deal during Chippewa Valley visit

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)-- The Vice President of the United States took a break from the White House Thursday and spent the afternoon in the Chippewa Valley. Mike Pence met with local business leaders and spoke with supporters about how the Trump Administration's proposed trade deal will impact Wisconsinites.

Vice President Mike Pence arrived at the Chippewa Valley via Air Force Two Thursday just before noon before heading to J&D Manufacturing to promote the U.S Mexico-Canada trade deal. Pence says the proposed deal will not just strengthen the U.S economy but the farming and manufacturing industry in Wisconsin as well.

The Vice President's trip comes amid worry about how current tariffs are impacting the economy.
Pence is in Wisconsin to promote the USMCA trade deal, which President Ttrump wants congress to approve. "Men and women of Wisconsin, I’m here to tell you, we've got to get it done...the clock is ticking...its time," said Pence.

The agreement would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA. Pence says passing the new deal will be a great victory for the American people and Wisconsin. "To keep the momentum of the American economy growing, President Trump and I know that we gotta level the playing field for American manufacturing by having trade deals that put America first," he said.

Local J&D employees say they appreciate the attention to Wisconsin's manufacturing industry. “I think it’s an excellent message. I’ve worked here for 12 years and it’s a great family company and I think it’s a great message. Its’ good for Wisconsin and the United States," said Ryan Schweikert, J&D manufacturing employee.

Nearly half of Wisconsin trade is with either Canada or Mexico making this trade deal a hot button issue ahead of the 2020 election. "I think it’s critical to showcase the importance of the USMCA and what it means to Wisconsin. We're a manufacturing state, we're an agricultural state and we export much of those goods to Canada and to Mexico," said Kurt Bauer, President and CEO at Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce

Democrats say Trump’s proposed trade agreement fails to address key issues regarding labor, the environment and how to enforce the agreement itself. “The wording of the agreement needs to be changed to address these issues before the agreement can do what the president and vice president claim it will do,” said Beverly Wickstrom, Chair of the Eau Claire Democratic Party.

Vice President Pence is visiting the Chippewa Valley on Thursday.

Pence is expected to arrive on Air Force Two at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport at 11:55 am.

From there, he will head to J & D Manufacturing in Eau Claire for a roundtable discussion on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Following that, he will deliver remarks on the impact USMCA will have in Wisconsin.

After Pence's Eau Claire visit, he will head to Fort McCoy, WI to visit the U.S Army Base Fort McCoy. The Vice President will meet and greet soldiers and their family members before returning to D.C. that evening.

We will have crews at both events Thursday and will have details in our later newscasts.