The Republican National Convention is off and running in Cleveland. Tuesday’s theme of “Make America Work Again” takes aim at key economic agenda items for the GOP. Overall, the party aims in its platform to champion small business, focus on strengthening the job market and consolidating and eliminating some regulations on business.
With such a focus on policy economic policies, here are a few key topics in the finalized platform for the Republican Party that are relevant to footwear.
Trade Policy & TPP
Donald Trump’s tough trade rhetoric has trickled into the GOP platform, and not surprisingly, it seems aimed at gathering support from blue-collar workers in the U.S. Rust Belt. The platform takes a get-tough approach on negotiations and demands fairer agreements, and threatens to walk away from those that the party sees as unbalanced. The platform remains quiet on specific deals being negotiated, including the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The platform also aims to rein in the trade deficit, too. “International trade is crucial for all sectors of America’s economy. Massive trade deficits are not. We envision a worldwide multilateral agreement among nations committed to the principles of open markets, what has been called a ‘Reagan Economic Zone,’ in which free trade will truly be fair trade for all concerned,” it reads.
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The future of TPP was pretty well sealed in the platform, which says: “Significant trade agreements should not be rushed or undertaken in a lame-duck Congress.” The line takes aim indirectly on President Obama’s major economic achievement the TPP, which supporters were hoping to move through Congress during the lame-duck session. The TPP has been widely seen as a major opportunity for the shoe industry.
The party platform takes direct aim at China’s economic policies, a clear influence by Trump, who labeled the key footwear trade partner a currency manipulator earlier in his presidential campaign. The platform argues that China is a major offender in intellectual property theft (which it lists as a national security issue) and also highlights China’s aggressions in the South China Sea as a major threat to U.S. dominance and influence in the region. Additionally, the platform argues: “We cannot allow foreign governments to limit American access to their markets while stealing our designs, patents, brands, know-how, and technology. We cannot allow China to continue its currency manipulation, exclusion of U.S. products from government purchases, and subsidization of Chinese companies to thwart American imports.”
The implication of the tough language could make for a strained and possibly more expensive business relationship for American brands.
Regulation: Dodd Frank & Glass-Steagall
The platform calls the Wall Street reform bill Dodd Frank more or less a disaster (“the Democrats’ legislative Godzilla”) and argues for implementing the Glass-Steagall Act from the Great Depression era. The Glass-Steagall Act aims to limit what big banks can do with money while freeing up smaller local institutions. “We support reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which prohibits commercial banks from engaging in high-risk investment,” reads the platform.
The platform aims to look closer at regulations across industries and make what the party calls sensible regulations. “[Regulations] can prevent the strong from exploiting the weak. Right now, the regulators are exploiting everyone. We are determined to make regulations minimally intrusive, confined to their legal mandate, and respectful toward the creation of new and small businesses,” said the platform. The regulations could have an impact on how business not only invests, but also would affect environmental regulations, a big potentially impact on U.S. production.