Foreign Trade

Relax, He's Just Negotiating

3/5/18
from The Gray Area:
3/5/18:

There has been much concern about President Trump's announcement last week of new tariffs on steel and aluminum. People are coming out of the woodwork from the left and the right saying how this will hurt our economy, jobs and critical relations with certain allies. Specifically, Mexico and Canada should not be placed in the category for protecting our national interests by raising tariffs.

There is certainly some truth to those concerns. If you take the statements Trump made at face value, these plans are very concerning.

But, haven't we learned yet you cannot take his statements at face value or verbatim. I think that applies here, too. He is just negotiating.

The President is always negotiating.

He wants to improve NAFTA. He wants to improve our trade imbalance. He wants to stop subsidizing countries who don't like us very much. So he makes a blanket statement about how he is going to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum. He is just starting the negotiation.

Over the weekend you could see the negotiation continue. "We will not impose tariffs on Mexico and Canada if they make some concessions on NAFTA". "I still don't like the trade imbalance with Canada". More statements like these will emerge in discussions with other countries.

We, as a country, are not used to seeing a President actually lead from the front. Hasn't happened in 38 years. Granted, the negotiating style is most often uncomfortable or cringe worthy, but successful negotiations often are. Is it risky? Negotiations are always risky. That's why other Presidents avoid serious negotiations and just give in.

On the campaign trail he promised to negotiate better deals. And, it appears, he is trying to do just that.

It's a high stakes game. Can we handle the risk and media drama while those negotiations take place?



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