WATCH Trump Trash Free Trade at Epic Press Conference
“If a country is taking advantage of us, we’re not going to let that happen anymore,” said President Donald Trump in yesterday’s impromptu press conference. “Every country takes advantage of us, almost. I may be able to find a couple that don’t. But for the most part, that would be a very tough job for me to do.”
In a meeting with the press originally convened to announce his next pick for Labor Secretary–after his original nominee withdrew–Trump went on to ramble and rant about a variety of issues from the dismissal of Michael Flynn to the Russia connection to the dishonesty of the news media. Trade and and its related issues were also touched upon.
“Let me list to you some of the things that we’ve done in just a short period of time,” said Trump, a few minutes into his presentation. I just got here. I got here with no cabinet. Again, each of these actions is a promise I made to the American people.”
The first accomplishment cited by the president: “We’ve withdrawn from the job-killing disaster known as Trans-Pacific Partnership.”
A report from the International Trade Commission last year concluded that the US GDP would grow by $42.7 billion with TPP and that the agreement would also account for some, if modest, jobs growth.
“We’re going to make trade deals, but we’re going to have one-on-one deals–bilateral,” Trump went on to say. “We’re going to have one-on-one deals.”
But Trump’s statement doesn’t account for the advantages of multilateral deals in a global economy based on transnational supply chains. The bilateral deals Trump envisions may take years to conclude. They may be simpler to manage, as Trump contends, but we live in a complex world.
On other issues of interest to Global Trade Daily, Trump said he’s “directed the elimination of regulations that undermine manufacturing, and called for expedited approval of the permits needed for America and American infrastructure, and that means plants, equipment, roads, bridges, factories.
“People take 10, 15, 20 years to get disapproved for a factory,” Trump contended. “They go in for a permit–it’s many, many years. And then at the end of the process–they spend tens of millions of dollars on nonsense–and at the end of the process, they get rejected. Now, they may be rejected with me, but it’s going to be a quick rejection.”
Then, of course, there was The Wall. “We’re starting that process,” the president said. “And the wall is going to be a great wall, and it’s going to be a wall negotiated by me. The price is going to come down, just like it has on everything else I’ve negotiated for the government. And we’re going to have a wall that works. We’re not going to have a wall like they have now, which is either nonexistent or a joke.”
Trump also mentioned his measures to Buy American steel for American pipelines. “We want them to use American steel,” he said. “And they’re willing to do that, but nobody ever asked before I came along.”
Trump also took credit for a jobs “surge.” He cited instances since his election of the preservation or growth of jobs at Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors, Intel, and Walmart.
Then he came back to trade. “Other countries have been taking advantage of us for decades–decades and decades and decades, folks,” he said. “And we’re not going to let that happen anymore. Not going to let it happen.”