LEBANON, Ind. (WLFI) - Vice President Mike Pence came back home to Indiana on Thursday to speak on the benefits of a potential new trade agreement with our neighboring countries in North America.
Air Force 2 touched down at the Indianapolis International Airport around 3:30 p.m. Second Lady Karen Pence accompanied him on the trip. A crowd of guests greeted them on the tarmac.
"It was really cool when they first landed there was a military guy out on the tarmac, that was really cool just to see him standing there and watch the plane land," said Aaron Smith, who said he has a friend who works on the Vice President's staff and invited him to be part of the greeting crowd. "I just love the pomp and circumstance that comes with it all."
The event was coordinated by the Indiana Farm Bureau. He spoke at Lamb Farms in Boone County. The trade agreement V.P. Pence promoted is called the United States Mexico Canada Agreement. It is the potential new trade deal that would replace NAFTA.
Wally Tyner is an Agriculture Economist at Purdue. He broke down what this trade agreement is.
He said that since NAFTA began in 1995, Mexico and Canada have become some of our biggest trading partners, and that NAFTA has been a good thing for U.S. farmers. President Donald Trump has threatened to pull out completely from NAFATA. Tyner said USMCA brings some small improvements to the existing agreement and that the U.S. would gain about $450 million more per year with USMCA compared to NAFTA.
However he said Canada and Mexico have instilled "retaliatory tariffs" on the U.S. because the U.S. has put tariffs on Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum products. USMCA does not get rid of the steel and aluminum tariffs. Tyner said that the U.S. will lose $1.8 billion dollars a year because of the retaliatory tariffs, which essentially negates the profit mentioned above.
And finally, USMCA still has to be ratified by Congress. If the legislature does not pass USMCA, and President Trump keeps his word about pulling out of NAFTA leaving the U.S. with no trade agreement at all, the U.S. would lose $9.4 billion per year.
And to cap it all off, Tyner said all the important gains made between the countries over the past 23 years would be lost.
Click here to learn more about the changes USMCA will bring.
Several who got to see the Vice President today said they are in support of his message and the new agreement.
"He's very concerned about commodity prices, he's very concerned about the exports, the trade agreements, he's very concerned about the financial well-being of the American farmer," said Dennis Carrell, who was a guest at the private event at Lamb Farms.
"We really like the policies that are coming out of the office and I think that it is really reflective of what people in Indiana feel like," said Smith. "We're glad to have him home."