Pence says US working ‘hour by hour’ on China trade deal

Published 8:19 am Friday, May 10, 2019

GLYNDON — Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday the Trump administration is working “literally hour by hour” to reach a trade agreement with China, as the deadline loomed on a U.S. threat to raise tariffs on Chinese imports.

Flanked by farmers and ranchers invited to a northwestern Minnesota farm to talk about the new North American trade agreement, Pence told reporters he was hopeful a deal with China could be reached before 12:01 a.m. Friday.

However, he said the U.S. is going to “continue to stand firm” to reset an unbalanced trading relationship.

Email newsletter signup

Should the U.S. follow through and raise tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports from 10 to 25 percent, Pence said “you can very confident” that the administration is going to “look for ways” to provide additional support to farmers affected by the trade dispute. He was not specific.

Pence changed the subject from China to “the good news,” referring to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. He spent most of his one-on-one time with the friendly audience gathered at R&J Johnson Farms promoting the deal and telling producers that Congress needs to act on it.

Pence called on Minnesota Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, to help persuade Speaker Nancy Pelosi to put the USMCA to a vote. The vice president said it’s sure to pass.