J & D Manufacturing
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you all for being here. And I especially want to thank Don and Tracy for hosting us at J&D Manufacturing, a great Wisconsin company, and inviting us in at, really, an exciting time for manufacturing, a growing time for Wisconsin and a growing time for the American economy.
I’m also grateful to be joined by the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Stephen Censky, who is here with us today, as I know so many of you benefit from and are connected to and involved in the agricultural enterprise across Wisconsin and across America. And so, Mr. Secretary, thank you for being with us today.
And I also want to thank Jim Holte of Wisconsin Farm Bureau. In my days in Indiana, I came to appreciate the Farm Bureau. And thanks for you leadership. Thanks for your voice for agriculture —
MR. HOLTE: Thanks for coming to Wisconsin.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: — and your presence here today.
Let me say it’s a very exciting time in the life of our economy. It’s remarkable to think, in just a little more than two years, 5.8 million jobs were created.
The last administration saw a loss of 200,000 manufacturing jobs, and many wondered if manufacturing was ever going to come back. And I’m proud to report that, after President Trump moved an agenda through the Congress of the United States that rolled back regulations, that cut taxes, that unleashed American energy and it advanced free and fair trade around the world. Now we’ve seen nearly half a million manufacturing jobs already created by businesses large and small — businesses just like those represented here and like J&D Manufacturing.
But I’m anxious to hear from all of you about how we can continue to go forward, because we have a tremendous opportunity to see the Congress pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement in the coming days.
I’ve been traveling around the country, on the President’s behalf, making the case for the USMCA. It is a — it’s a win for American manufacturing, it’s a win for American farmers. And we’re calling on the Congress to pass the USMCA and pass the USMCA this year.
We’re particularly proud of the benefits that flow to American agriculture and to Wisconsin dairy that come in the USMCA. It was a tough negotiation. I can tell you President Trump stood strong for American agriculture in those discussions. And we reached an agreement with Canada and Mexico that we think is going to be a great benefit to our economy — in the city and on the farm.
But I’m anxious to hear from all of you about how we can not only promote the USMCA and see its adoption by the Congress, but what else we can do to continue to keep Wisconsin growing, to keep America growing. And so I’m truly grateful to be here with all of you today.
I’ll have more to say in a few minutes, but, Tracy, thanks again for the warm welcome. And thank you all for being here to help us continue to build on the tremendous momentum in the American economy.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: But let me at least — number one, thanks again for being here. It’s a big deal that you all are here. But I just want to encourage you, with the word, that we hear you and we get it. And we really do see — let’s get USMCA done and then we’ll keep momentum not just with China, which is so much in the news right now, but also with Japan and with the EU.
You know, the President is never subtle about how he feels. Our trading relationships have been allowed to evolve with all three of those nations and with the EU, broadly. So — but we really think the USMCA will put a lot of momentum behind that. We’ll demonstrate that in North America we can reach a more equitable trade deal.
I will tell you that, all the way through this week, we are working the issue of steel and aluminum and the retaliatory tariffs that are associated with them. And we’ve been in active discussions with Mexico and Canada in the last two weeks on just this issue. So, be encouraged. We get it. I think the President would actually — I mean, he sees the interrelationship between the two.
I will tell you, candidly, Congressman Ron Kind looms large in the House of Representatives. I’ve served with him for 12 years. He’s a highly respected member of the Congress. Nice guy. I always got along with Ron really well. You’re going to hear me say out at the podium, but getting the word to Ron to tell Speaker Pelosi to get this thing to the floor — we think if the USMCA comes to the floor, it’ll pass.
And so what we’re hearing from the Democrat leadership is they need to be hearing from their members.
PARTICIPANT: Ron is supportive of trade, as you indicated.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I’m sorry?
PARTICIPANT: Ron is very supportive of trade in general.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, he has — he has been. He’s a Ways and Means guy, and he’s also been pro-trade. I don’t think he’s declared on USMCA yet, but —
PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible) conversation and different opportunities, he’s spoken of it positively. I don’t know if he’s declared or not.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good. Good.
But I just say to all of you, in all the right ways, to the extent you can encourage him, and to no less extent, Senator Baldwin. Ron Johnson has been phenomenal and he’s been a champion for us. But we think we can get this thing done. And we’re reasonably confident we can address the other side issues. Okay? And we get that.
And with regard to China, I will just tell you we understand what a big and important market it is, not just for agriculture but for so many things. But we really do believe that — I mean, they’re half of our international trade deficit right now. And that is nothing to say about the abuses of intellectual property and forced technology transfer and ownership within China. And so we’re driving hard to address those things.
The President will be meeting with President Xi at the G20 in just a couple weeks. So those discussions literally are ongoing with China. But I promise you the President is going to stand strong until China kind of comes back up to the international rules of order that everybody else operates under. And so — which will be good for everybody.
Yeah, go, Jeff.
MR. DARLEY: One other is the Ex-Im Bank. Glad to see the progress that has been made on that after four and a half years. That has helped our company a lot over the years, but not in recent years. So keep the momentum going in getting the Ex-Im Bank.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yeah, we got the (inaudible) through the Senate. So, yeah, they’re rolling.
Thank you all very much. This is just terrific. Appreciate it. Great discussion.