“Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing? The President’s Trade Policies So Far”

That’s the title of my latest EconoFact memo.

The Issue:

A central campaign theme of Candidate Trump was the promise to shrink America’s trade deficit. The promised policies to achieve this goal included quitting free trade agreements, unilaterally imposing tariffs, and putting in place other protectionist measures, such as declaring China a currency manipulator on “day one” of his administration. More recently, the administration published a trade agenda on March 1 which states “It is time for a more aggressive approach. The Trump Administration will use all possible leverage to encourage other countries to give U.S. producers fair, reciprocal access to their markets.” and President Trump signed two executive orders on Friday, March 31 related to trade. But China has not been declared a currency manipulator and the measures announced so far have been limited relative to the promises made. On the other hand, in late March, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin refused to join the G-20 commitment to resist trade protectionism. This suggests more protectionist measures may be introduced in the future.

One interesting document that I did not mention is a draft letter circulating on Capitol Hill, indicating what changes the Administration will seek in the renegotiation of NAFTA. The changes appear to be far from withdrawal or extensive modification of the agreement. Not that I’m complaining.

The entire memo is here

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