MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Vice President Mike Pence was in Minnesota Thursday afternoon to tout the administration’s new North American trade agreement.

RELATED: Vice President Mike Pence To Plug Trade With Mexico, Canada In Minnesota Visit

Vice President Pence spoke to farmers at his first stop at R&J Johnson Farms in Glyndon, Minnesota.

The farmers at the event stressed how important it is for them to be able to trade their goods with Canada and Mexico. They also said it is important to make ensure the United States keeps its agricultural economy as strong as possible.

From Glyndon, Pence boarded Air Force II and headed to MSP Airport. He toured Gerdau Ameristeel in St. Paul Thursday evening, and addressed the crowd. Pence said 2018 was the best year for manufacturing job creation in more than 20 years. Gerdau executives say they’ve added more 400 new jobs across the country in last two years, and in part credit Trump’ trade policy for the employment boom.

Pence also told workers that American steel is back, saying U.S. workers produced 33.6 million tons of steel this year. That’s a 7% increase from last year.

The trade agreement would impose stiff tariffs on imported steel. Pence says the trade agreement will help continue the record growth of new jobs in the United States.

This is the fifth time in the last 10 months that either the President or Vice President has visited Minnesota – clear evidence of what Republicans say is a push to win the state in the 2020 presidential election. The Trump-Pence team came very close in 2016, losing Minnesota by only 50,000 votes.

Pence said Thursday the record of job creation is proof that the administration cares about American and Minnesota workers.

While Pence was in Minnesota, President Donald Trump was in Washington trying to salvage a transformative trade deal with China.

Esme Murphy