Trade is garnering major headlines this week thanks to Brexit stalling European-U.S. trade talks and the presidential campaign trail economic talk heating up.
1. Trump Reveals Economic Policy
In a speech today in Pennsylvania, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump announced his economic policy proposal. Not surprisingly, free trade and globalization were the targets of the speech, with Trump arguing that recent trade policy has resulted in a weakening of the U.S. manufacturing base and jobs being sent overseas. Trump said he would withdraw the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and also aim to renegotiate trade deals such as the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and with China.
China received the brunt of the attention in his policy speech. Trump said he would label China a currency manipulator, file suit against the country in the World Trade Organization and here at home, and aim to increase taxes and tariffs on China.
“Trade reform, and the negotiation of great trade deals, is the quickest way to bring our jobs back,” said Trump. “To understand why trade reform creates jobs, we need to understand how all nations grow and prosper. Massive trade deficits subtract directly from our gross domestic product.”
Overwhelmingly, the footwear community supports the TPP and has been lobbying Congress to support and pass the deal under the Obama administration.
2. Hillary Clinton Renews Trade Prosecutor Promise
Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton called again on Monday for the implementation of a trade prosecutor. Clinton was on the campaign trail in Cincinnati and made a speech taking aim at globalization and multi-national trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. She called for a trade prosecutor once again, arguing that the U.S. needs someone to report directly to the president to protect the American worker and manufacturing from what she called “bad” trade agreements and nations that violate them.
“We will defend American jobs and American workers by saying ‘no’ to bad trade deals, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and unfair trade practices, like when China dumps cheap steel in our markets or uses weak ‘rules of origin’ to undercut our car makers,” said Clinton. “I’m going to appoint a trade prosecutor who will report to the President, so we are going to end the abuse of our market, our workers, our people.”
Ohio is a key swing state for the presidential candidates and one where the anti-trade talk has garnered big support with both Republicans and Democrats. Clinton previously favored the TPP trade deal but reversed her decision in October.
3. TTIP Heads to the Back Burner
One of the biggest casualties of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union was the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The trade deal was rumored to be entering final stages of negotiations, and it seems all parties are taking a step back from the deal to handle other priorities. EU trade negotiators are now focused on the terms of Brexit, and the U.S. will have to wait for the outcome there to see the impact that a U.K. absence would have on the deal. While TTIP would have primarily benefitted higher-end brands producing and sourcing in Europe, the deal would have helped to alleviate $196.6 million in import tariffs.