Pence coming to Minnesota to plug trade with Mexico, Canada

Mike Pence - AP image

Vice President Mike Pence is rolling into the Midwest to tout the administration's new North American trade agreement, while back in Washington President Donald Trump tries to salvage a transformative trade deal with China.

Posted: May 9, 2019 6:24 AM

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence is rolling into the Midwest to tout the administration's new North American trade agreement, while back in Washington President Donald Trump tries to salvage a transformative trade deal with China.

Pence was scheduled Thursday to visit a Minnesota farmstead near Fargo, where Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Papp will be among agriculture leaders participating in a discussion about the agreement that awaits action in Congress. Papp says his first question will be whether Pence can help close the deal, which he believes will require the Trump administration to lift steel and aluminum tariffs on U.S. allies.

"Tariffs are no more than a tax at the border," Papp said. "It's killing us in agriculture."

When Pence wraps up his meeting at R & J Johnson Farms in Glyndon, he will head to St. Paul and give a speech to workers at Gerdau Ameristeel, one of the mills that Trump's tariffs are meant to help. Papp, for one, realizes the dichotomy.

"We're a unique state," he said, referring to Minnesota's agriculture and mining industries. "We're going to have to work together and get this done as soon as possible."

U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber, a Republican whose district includes northeast Minnesota's Iron Range, said the steel tariffs have stopped countries like China from dumping steel into the market, noting that U.S. shipments went up 5 percent last year while steel imports dropped by 4 million tons. At the same time, he said the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, will allow farmers to export more products to Canada.

"President Trump and his administration are not trying to pit the farmers against the steel workers or the manufacturers against the steel workers at all," Stauber said. "Our Minnesota farmers not only feed our Minnesotans and this country, they also feed the world and we want to make sure that we give them the opportunity to move their products across this globe in a free and fair way."

Robert Kudrle, an international trade specialist at the University of Minnesota, said it's "tricky business" for Pence to be selling a package that includes a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum. The Mexicans and Canadians don't like it, nor do most Republicans in Congress, Kudrle said.

"The fact that it is still there is something (Pence) can talk to the steelworkers about," said Kudrle, who added that some of his audiences have no clue about tariffs because they were "kind of a thing of the past until a few years ago."

Oddly enough, Kudrle said, most of the USMCA is "really not very different" from the original NAFTA deal that "the president said was the worst agreement ever signed."

Brandon Wipf, a soybean farmer from Huron, South Dakota, said he's happy the administration is continuing to push passage of the USMCA. However, he said the steel and aluminum tariffs are bad for farmers because they have stalled the deal in Congress and artificially inflated prices on farm equipment, grain bins and other agricultural products.

"Farmers are really getting it on both ends, both in terms of our trade markets and the expenses incurred trying to produce them," Wipf said. "Trump is not eager to change that."

Randy Richards, a farmer in Hope, North Dakota, and member of a local bank board, said because of the administration's trade policy many producers can't pay for day-to-day operations so they're borrowing more money, carrying a larger debt load and paying more interest.

"How it affects me and how it affects my neighbors is everybody's pushing the limit on what they can afford to borrow," Richards said.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 456490

Reported Deaths: 6174
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin947071506
Ramsey40752750
Dakota33684355
Anoka31437368
Washington20627237
Stearns18137190
St. Louis14032251
Scott1224899
Wright11831107
Olmsted1085175
Sherburne831970
Carver706139
Clay661384
Rice625674
Kandiyohi559172
Blue Earth549633
Crow Wing491178
Otter Tail465468
Chisago461838
Benton424388
Winona395648
Douglas380366
Nobles374847
Mower374729
Goodhue359163
Polk330860
McLeod328947
Beltrami316648
Morrison314845
Lyon306340
Becker290039
Itasca288043
Isanti286543
Carlton285243
Steele279610
Pine270815
Freeborn254923
Todd233730
Nicollet230938
Brown219134
Mille Lacs216145
Le Sueur215016
Cass211024
Meeker201733
Waseca193916
Wabasha17493
Martin172126
Roseau166617
Hubbard151438
Redwood141427
Houston141114
Dodge14014
Renville138740
Chippewa133432
Cottonwood129218
Fillmore12838
Wadena120918
Rock112212
Aitkin111633
Faribault110316
Sibley11017
Watonwan10708
Pennington101316
Kanabec100118
Pipestone97523
Yellow Medicine95017
Murray9137
Jackson87510
Swift84718
Pope7485
Stevens7078
Marshall70315
Clearwater68814
Lake66515
Lac qui Parle66116
Wilkin63510
Koochiching61010
Lincoln4912
Big Stone4703
Grant4398
Unassigned43568
Norman4268
Mahnomen4177
Kittson37420
Red Lake3214
Traverse2673
Lake of the Woods1991
Cook1160

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 313284

Reported Deaths: 4437
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk47198465
Linn18187280
Scott15975172
Black Hawk14184243
Woodbury13161181
Johnson1234453
Dubuque11678159
Pottawattamie9204115
Dallas915472
Story886638
Cerro Gordo476172
Webster475077
Warren463939
Clinton461068
Sioux460757
Marshall433262
Buena Vista397731
Muscatine397379
Des Moines396243
Plymouth354270
Wapello353098
Jasper335159
Lee327132
Marion312253
Jones275650
Henry269931
Carroll258934
Bremer251048
Crawford235524
Boone224717
Washington224333
Benton214550
Mahaska198937
Jackson196532
Tama191659
Dickinson189429
Kossuth182244
Delaware177736
Clay173421
Wright167824
Fayette166824
Buchanan162924
Hamilton162930
Winneshiek161420
Harrison159162
Hardin158731
Cedar156819
Clayton154349
Butler152524
Page148715
Floyd142036
Cherokee140527
Mills139017
Lyon138233
Poweshiek136024
Hancock133024
Allamakee131630
Iowa128522
Madison126210
Calhoun12409
Grundy123428
Winnebago123329
Jefferson122625
Mitchell117337
Louisa116830
Cass115443
Chickasaw114012
Appanoose113340
Sac113215
Union112823
Emmet111332
Shelby108027
Humboldt107819
Guthrie104624
Franklin104018
Unassigned10290
Palo Alto92611
Montgomery90024
Keokuk86526
Howard86419
Monroe82820
Clarke8219
Pocahontas78811
Ida76930
Davis70421
Adair69820
Greene6987
Monona69618
Lucas67110
Osceola65011
Worth6224
Taylor6029
Fremont5296
Van Buren50615
Decatur5004
Ringgold46311
Audubon4278
Wayne42021
Adams3023
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