In tense exchanges during the vice-presidential debate Wednesday in Salt Lake City, Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris sparred over the economy and the U.S.-China trade war.

Pence defended economic growth under the Trump administration, characterizing it as a “V-Shaped recovery.” Harris criticized the Trump administration's economic policies, claiming they are meant to only help the wealthy.

The U.S. economy only added 661,000 jobs in September, the weakest monthly job increase since May. The Trump administration has failed to reach a stimulus agreement with Congress to boost the economy, as COVID-19 cases spike across the country.

On Tuesday, CNN released a poll that showed Trump and  Biden were tied among registered voters at 49% on the question of who would handle the economy better.

Pence accused Harris of wanting to raise taxes across-the-board. "Well, America, you just heard Sen. Harris tell you. On day one, Joe Biden's going to raise your taxes,” Pence said.

Harris quickly denied that claim.

Harris said a Biden administration would only raise taxes on individuals making over $400,000 a year. She characterized Biden’s economic policies as “investing in the people of our country.” 

On the trade war, Pence said tariffs were needed to bring back manufacturing jobs.

“Biden has been a cheerleader for communist China over the past decades,” Pence said. He praised Trump for “standing up to China” and renegotiating trade deals.

Harris called Trump’s tariffs on China “a failed war” that cost American jobs.

On the topic of U.S. standing throughout the world, Harris cited how foreign leaders respect Chinese President Xi Jinping more than Trump, due to a failure of leadership under the current administration. 

Trump launched the trade war against China in 2018, as an attempt to bring manufacturing jobs back to American shores. Retailers such as Walmart have resorted to raising consumer prices due to the tariffs on Chinese goods.