United States Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday claimed that the Paris climate deal would have given India and China a “virtual free pass” and cost the US economy more than 6.5 million jobs, reported PTI. In remarks at the National Association of Manufacturers 2017 Manufacturing Summit, Pence said, “This President [US President Donald Trump] put America first not long ago when he made the decision to withdraw the United States of America from the Paris Climate Accord.”

Pence stated that the “terrible deal” would have cost the US economy more than 6.5 million jobs over the next 25 years. Pence however, said that Trump had “kept the door open” to renegotiating the Paris agreement or coming up with a new one. Pence said Trump had instead put a renewed emphasis on ensuring that US manufacturers had affordable, abundant, and reliable energy that they could use to power factories and “power our future”.

Donald Trump had on June 1 decided to pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement, claiming it “punishes” his country. Trump said countries like China and India, which were leading polluters, were getting away with a partial deal. “For example, under the agreement, China will be able to increase emissions by a staggering number of years – 13,” he said. They can do whatever they want for 13 years. Not us. India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries.”

The announcement had invited widespread condemnation from world leaders.