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Friday, 02 March 2018


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It seems that Mr Trump isn't picking a fight with China, but with Mexico and Canada. The Chinese are recycling their surplus steel and aluminium through these countries.

So many of these trade deals the US enters revolve around how much access country X gets to our market vs how little we get to theirs. The terms for each party in a multi lateral agreement are usually kept secret so each country can't know how much favoritism another one gets.

On a macro economic view, the numbers always show that free trade is a net positive. However, within those numbers, many industries and communities that support them are devastated by these deals. Where I live in North Carolina, our textile and furniture industries were nearly ruined by international trade deals. Many towns have not and will not bounce back. I usually back the concept of free trade in general but my support is tempered by the reality nearby of its consequences.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also deserves his 15 minutes of fame. He's been pro-tariffs for years. "[He] tried to downplay the impact of the tariffs in a CNBC interview Friday, saying that the cost for canned goods — such as Campbell’s soup and Coca-Cola — would be only fractions of a penny.

“Who in the world is going to be too bothered?” Ross asked."

And don't forget Europe, where economies also depend on the cost of steel and aluminum:


Some history.

Until 1980 the Republicans/Conservatives were strongly free trade. The Democrats/liberals were strongly pro high tariff.

In 1980 Ronald Reagan became President. A lot of his support came from the Democratic working class, "the Reagan Democrats." These have tended to stay with the Republicans. They were also the strong anti-free trade block in the democratic party. Since this defection both parties have been ambivalent though leaning free trade. A major portion of those who voted for Trump are successors to the Reagan Democrats. I suspect that a major factor in Trump's decision is playing to his political base,

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