For too long, America has been led by a naive embrace of free trade that overlooks the predatory behavior of our trade competitors. Widespread trade cheating and poorly designed trade deals have led to persistent U.S. trade deficits causing job losses, manufacturing decline and income stagnation.
[Michael Stumo | January 24, 2018 | USA Today]
Many nations push their currency values lower, and the dollar higher, to gain a price advantage in global market at our expense. Their governments subsidize manufacturing in order to “dump” product in the U.S. market at below cost. These predatory practices violate world trade law and destroy American industries. Thankfully, President Trump appears willing to confront such abuses by punishing trade violators and renegotiating job-killing trade agreements.
Our organization, the Coalition for a Prosperous America, is a bipartisan group composed of more than 4 million American manufacturers, labor unions, farmers and ranchers. We recognize the damage that bad trade deals and persistent deficits have wrought on the U.S economy. Working-class voters no longer believe pundits’ claims that they will get new jobs to replace the old ones destroyed by excessive imports.
Too many of our leaders have simply overlooked a world increasingly dominated by strategic competitors. China has built up massive manufacturing capability through strategic government subsidies, currency manipulation and import controls that advantage its government-owned companies.
Concerns about trade “retaliation” are wrong, since America is already besieged by a one-sided trade war. President Trump’s recent announcement of duties on imported solar panels and washing machines, for example, simply enforces existing U.S. trade laws against foreign cheating.
America’s national interest is to restore jobs and economic growth by reducing our trade deficit. Trump is finally changing America’s course by recognizing that the free-trade myth can no longer drive our economic policy.
Michael Stumo is CEO of the Coalition for a Prosperous America.