Vice President Mike Pence reassured Minnesota farmers this week that the Trump administration is working “literally hour by hour to reach an agreement with China.”

“The president and I remain hopeful that we’ll be able to reach an agreement, but we’re going to continue to stand firm,” Pence told farmers at R&J Johnson Farms in Glyndon. “We’re going to continue to stand firm for putting American jobs, American farmers, and American workers first to reset that trading relationship with China that is so out of balance in so many different ways”:

Pence thanked the group, stressing “the importance of agriculture, the challenges that American agriculture is facing today, and the vital importance of expanded trade to the vitality of the American family farm.”

He turned attention to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) upon which the leaders of each country agreed. The U.S. Congress has yet to move that agreement through so that it may be launched into action.

Speaking of the USMCA, Pence said, “The president has done his job. And I’m here to say it is time for Congress to do their job and approve the USMCA this year.” The group responded with applause. “As we heard from these farmers, the USMCA is a huge improvement on NAFTA,” he stated. “The new USMCA really puts American jobs and American workers first. It levels the playing field. It removes the unintentional incentives in the last deal for companies to leave our country and particularly go south of the border.”

The vice president called on Congress to approve the USMCA, which he touted as “a win for American farmers” and for Minnesota:

“I’m here in this district because this district is really emblematic of all that’s best about American agriculture,” said Pence. “I’m also here because Congressman Collin Peterson is a vitally important leader in the Congress of the United States.”

He returned to the issue of Congress passing the USMCA in listing his reasons for visiting Minnesota. “And I’m here to call on Congressman Collin Peterson, who supports the USMCA, to call on Speaker Pelosi and tell her to bring the USMCA to the floor and bring it to the floor soon.”

“It’s absolutely imperative that the Democratic leadership in the Congress act to move the USMCA to the floor,” he said with affirmation that the USMCA will pass in the House if Speaker Pelosi will bring it to a vote on the floor:

Vice President Pence took questions after concluding his main remarks. In answering one question, he said, “In the midst of all of that, we’ll continue to work — continue to work a free, fair, reciprocal deal with China, which is so important to agriculture as well.”

U.S.-China trade talks in Washington, DC, ended this week without a deal. The last day of the D.C.-based trade talks began Friday with the U.S. raising tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent. 

President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the G20 Argentina summit, where the two had agreed to temporarily halt any increases in tariffs on each other. That temporary trade truce originally was set to last 90 days, ending in March 2019, but as the deadline approached, President Trump chose to further delay planned tariffs as talks with the Chinese seemed to be making progress. That delay ended with Friday’s tariff increase.

Michelle Moons is a White House Correspondent for Breitbart News — follow on Twitter @MichelleDiana and Facebook.

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