Trade Policy: Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand?
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a technology policy think tank, released a breakdown of the 2016 presidential candidates’ technology and innovation policy agendas, including trade policy.
The following is a summary of the candidates’ trade policies as reported by ITIF. The entire report can be accessed here.
Trump would have the federal government take a stronger position with China on issues such as currency manipulation and intellectual property theft. Both candidates take positions against the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and have called into question past agreements such as the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Both candidates have articulated support for fair, rules- and market-based trade. Clinton would place emphasis on negotiating labor and environmental provisions in U.S. trade agreements.
Trump has said, “I’m not against trade. I just want to make better deals.” He asserts his goal is “accountability,” not “protectionism.” Trump favors the negotiation of bilateral over multilateral
trade agreements and has threatened to pull the U.S. out of the World Trade Organization.
Neither candidate has taken a position on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) that the U.S. and EU are negotiating but Clinton in the past referred to the accord as an “economic
Neither candidate has taken a position on Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and both have expressed support for renegotiating elements of NAFTA. Trump said he would withdraw from the North American accord if negotiations are not satisfactory.
On currency manipulation, Clinton would impose tariffs or duties on China “and other top Asian
nations” that engage in currency manipulation. Trump would immediately declare China a currency manipulator and begin to introduce countervailing duties.
The candidates differ on the Export-Import Bank, with Clinton supporting EXIM for its role in supporting U.S. global competitiveness while Trump would shut it down.
Both candidates would penalize manufacturers that sift production abroad. Clinton has called for an “exit tax” on “companies that leave America to lower their tax burden” and would make businesses
benefitting from “Make It in America” incentives pledge not to shift jobs offshore.
Trump has said he would punish companies that offshore production by taxing (or placing additional
tariffs on) their imports back to the United States.
Trump has not taken a position on digital free trade while Clinton has come out against data localization policies and supports the U.S.-EU Privacy Shield to support the transfer of data between the United States and Europe.
Clinton would impose tariffs or duties in cases of unfair foreign mercantilist trade practices. Trump favors taxation of “foreign, not domestic, production” and has proposed a blanket 45-percent tax on Chinese imports and a 35-percent tax on Mexican importers “if they don’t behave.”
The Shifting US-China Trade Landscape