Conservatives as of late, have been expressing concerns over President Trump’s tough talk on import tariffs. Naturally, Conservatives are against all forms of increased taxation, whereas even I was concerned… at first. However, upon further exploration of the topic, and the realization of the gross abuses that foreign nations like China have imposed upon the American manufacturers and workers, tariffs have begun to look like a viable option.Trump campaigned in 2016 against what he called “unfair trade” and promised to get tough with trading partners. Then last week, President Trump tweeted:
The news stunned an already jittery Wall Street and stoked fresh worries that other countries would retaliate. So far, those worries have not come to fruition. Some worried that increased tariffs could be increasing the chances of a trade war that could harm the economy. As a result, the stock market DJIA, -0.29% fell sharply on last Thursday and sank again in early Friday trades. Not really surprising, since the stock market is always concerned about the unknown, and details of the President’s trade strategy are sparse to investors. President Trump added to investors anxiety by suggesting in another tweet that a trade war would be “easy to win.”
However, as those who attack and criticize the President’s actions, other factors indicate he could be on the right track. Making good on his “America first” promise, President Trump imposed new tariffs on solar panel imports last week. The reaction from both environmentalists and the business world was swift, and mostly negative. They claimed that Trumps’s tariff policy won’t generate many U.S. jobs, and environmentalists said that it will reduce the growth of solar energy in America, and start a trade war with the Chinese. The tariff’s will start at 30 percent the first year, and then dropping 5 percent each subsequent year, until it reaches 15 percent during the final year.
As a result, Chinese solar panel imports have slowed, and interestingly, China flooded the U.S. solar market with panels last year, in their attempt avoid paying President Trump’s impending 30 percent import tariff, according to a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The tariffs came in response to a bankrupt United States solar manufacturer, who said that it was put out of business, in response to cheap Chinese imports, and the U.S. International Trade Commission conceded their claims validity. Other American solar manufacturers claim that China was able to gain dominance over the solar panel market by sinking subsidies into Chinese produced solar panel companies in Asia and Mexico, and then flooded the markets with cheap panels in an effort to wipe out competitors, and gain dominance over the markets.
Meanwhile, Companies like California-based SunPower Corp., the second-biggest U.S. solar supplier, manufacturers most of its products in Mexico and Asia, was concerned about the increased tariff’s. As a result, they have the choice to either move their operations back to the United States when their supply of imported solar panels runs dry, or pay the higher tariffs and pass those increased costs on to the consumer. However, the Chinese have gone from no place in the solar panel industry to taking over 2/3’s of all solar panel production. To make matters worse, Malaysia and South Korea have the greatest control over the solar panel market today, totaling 52% control over the worlds solar panel market, and many of their solar panel companies are owned by the Chinese as well, or have Chinese-driven supply chains that run through Malaysia and South Korea before shipping to the United States. As a result, American solar panel manufacturers have been hit hard, resulting in pay cuts, layoffs, and leaving the American companies unable to compete and bankrupt, resulting in them shuttering their factory doors. Now, as a result of American manufacturing companies inability to compete with Chinese, and other Asian companies who have low wages and high government subsidies, American factories close down, and American workers lose their jobs. As a result, today America imports about 80% of its solar panels.
Some say that the down side of Trump’s tariffs on solar panels results from the installation aspect of the business. Around 70% of the solar jobs in America are installation jobs. Therefore, the tariffs could increase the cost of the panels, and result in lower profits and job cuts. However, experts believe that the increased cost of solar installations would be minimal, and estimates indicate that the cost would rise by 10% at the most, but most likely, much lower. Consequently, the worst case scenario would put installation costs at where they were almost two years ago.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Faith Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency stated:
“I don’t believe this decision will reverse the solar expansion in the U.S.”
“The global solar industry will adjust. The penetration of solar in the U.S. will continue.”
One of the major problems with solar panels from China and other countries, is that they create and assemble cheap panels, using cheap labor, and using cheap parts and technology. In fact, typically manufacturers from other countries utilize non-innovative tech. Therefore, consumers have the choice to get older, less efficient panels that wear out quickly, or pay a little bit more for American panels that last longer, work better, and save money in the long-term.
In the end, American solar companies would never be able to compete with cheap competition from overseas due to the market being flooded with lower quality panels, but with President Trump’s tariffs, American solar manufacturers will now be able to have a chance to innovate, and better compete in the solar industry.
Then last week, President Trump met with dozens of steel and aluminum business executives in an effort to find a solution to the growing problems within their industry. President Trump said:
“People have no idea how badly our country has been treated by other countries by people representing us that didn’t have a clue or if they did, then they should be ashamed of themselves, because they have destroyed the steel industry.”
Following the meetings with the aluminum and steel business executives, President Trump announced that he would enact 25% tariffs for steel and 10% for aluminum, in an effort to counteract cheap foreign imports. President Trump said that the new tariffs are a way to restore the greatness of the steel and aluminum industries in the United States.
The implementation of tariffs would signal another step forward for Trump’s ‘America First’ fair trade agenda. After all, the Chinese government has been working diligently behind the scenes to establish “predatory trade practices” designed to give China greater control over the global commodity market, and to make the entire world dependent on the Chinese industrial leviathan. President Trump said that he understood why countries like China were dumping cheap steel into the United States, but went on to reiterate that it had to stop, and Trump’s planned steel and aluminum tariffs will combat China’s “deliberate attempt to bankrupt our strategic industries.” President Trump went on by saying that the root of the trade imbalance problem stems from unfair trade agreements like NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and the WTO (World Trade Organization).
President Trump said:
“The NAFTA deal was a disaster for our country, the WTO has been a disaster for this country.”
The President went on to say that China’s economic rise and domination in the world economic markets was directly the result of the World Trade Organization. Consequently, Trump said that the WTO has hurt the United States manufacturers. Bret Easton Ellis said
“China has overproduced its steel [and] aluminum, and they have gamed the system again [by] stockpiling aluminum in the Mexican desert, transshipping it through Mexico and through Canada, taking advantage of the low tariff rates, thanks to NAFTA.”
Ultimately, China have gamed the system, and has not lived up to the agreements that they signed. But, America’s leadership keeps acting as if they are. In fact, our American political elitists have been doing this for seventeen years. Therefore, it is no surprise that China have refused to change. Consequently, the Chinese have continued to pursue American companies, and manipulated American companies to invest in China, and transfer their technology. According to Ellis:
“It has driven American aluminum smelters into bankruptcy. There used to be 28 in this country; now, there are not even a dozen. This is dangerous stuff. If this continues, in five years, it would be irreversible, and we would become basically an agricultural national dependent on other countries for the production of industrial goods.”
A number of the steel and aluminum executives expressed to the President that they ‘needed a level playing field’, if they are to compete with foreign aluminum and steel. President Trump trump said that America’s national security depends on ‘fair trade’, and obviously not all countries are on a level playing field, in regards to trade. However, these unfair trade practices with the Chinese have been going on since the Richard Nixon Administration, when he went to China. He underestimated the Chinese, and subsequently, Washington, Wall Street, and academia have enabled the Chinese communist party ever since.
President Trump tweeted:
“When our country can’t make aluminum and steel … you almost don’t have much of a country, because without steel and aluminum the country is not the same, we need it.”
In response to the President’s announcement on his steel and aluminum tariffs, the non-elected President of the European Union Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, tweeted
“So now we will also impose import tariffs.”
Juncker threatened to impose tariffs on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, blue jeans, Levis, and on bourbon. He said that ‘we can also do stupid.” Without missing a step, President Trump responded:
Ironically, and in concert, the American Mainstream Media and the European Mainstream Media began attacking President Trump’s tariffs as unreasonable. However, President Trump was completely accurate in describing the trade imbalance with the EU (European Union),just as he was correct in describing the lopsided trade tariffs that have hurt American businesses, and have benefited foreign businesses. In fact, in regards to President Trump’s example on car tariff imbalances with the European Union, this is how President Trump’s claim stacks up:
The European Union imposes a 10% tariff tax on American cars that we export to EU countries.
The United States imposes only a 2.5% tariff tax on European cars imported into the U.S.
Result: American cars are more expensive for European consumers, resulting in lower sales for American manufacturers and workers, while European cars are cheaper in the United States, helping European manufacturers and workers.
Interestingly, U.S. tariffs on foreign aluminium and steel are really aimed at state-subsidised producers in the People’s Republic of China, not Europe. However, due to the WTO (World Trade Organization) and their ‘most favoured nation’ rules, it requires the United States to treat all third countries the same unless they have a trade deal, and the EU has consistently failed to negotiate one. Therefore, the European Union’s reaction is one of obvious fear. They are afraid that President Trump might target them as well. In addition, Trump’s move is against what the European Union represents. It is a move against a one-world globalist governing body, who cannot stand to have a nationalist conservative in the White House. Especially, one as effective as President Donald Trump. A leader who is known for the ‘Art of the Deal.’ A man who could renegotiate trade deals that would reshape the global trading markets. A man who is fighting to put American interests first, and ultimately, ‘America First’.
The country who would be hurt the most by increased tariffs would be the United Kingdom. In fact, since the European Union decides the trade policy of member countries, instead of the countries themselves, the U.K. will be caught in the middle. Following Brexit, Theresa May has said that she plans to change little in regards to trade policy, and leave it as it stands under the European Union. Therefore, when Brexit occurs in 2019, the United Kingdom could suffer as a result of the E.U.’s policies, especially since the United States is the U.K.’s largest trading partner. As a result, the U.K. would likely benefit from talks with President Trump, especially as they prepare for Brexit (the British Exit from EU membership). Otherwise, the United Kingdom will find themselves paying higher prices on both European products, and American products as. Fortunately, one trade deal that President Trump has shown to be interested in negotiating, has been to strike a “very big, very powerful” deal with Great Britain. However, this will not be possible until after Brexit, and it is fully out of the European Union, resulting in a huge incentive for Theresa May to act quickly. In fact, President Trump’s Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross has called for trade barriers between the United Kingdom and the United States to come down following Brexit. A sign, that the Trump Administration knowns the position of the U.K., and is willing to work to protect one of our leading trade partners from any repercussions. Ironically, if the United Kingdom controlled its own trade policy, it is very possible it could have avoided this situation entirely.
Now, as a result of President Trump’s tariff policy, Jesse Gary, the Executive Vice President at Century Aluminum, told Trish Regan on FOX Business Network that Century Aluminum will hire 300 new employees in western Kentucky, who receive $90,000 per year.
Also, the Post-Gazette reported that US Steel has announced that it will restart two blast furnaces and recall 500 employees in Granite City, Illinois following President Trump’s decision to tax steel and aluminum imports. All totalling 800 new US steel and aluminum jobs that have been grown in the last week, thanks to President Trump’s tariff policy.
As for the United States, the U.S. trade deficit rose to more than nine-year high in January, with the trade gap with China expanding rapidly, adding even more urgency to the case for “America First” trade policies. The trade gap in December hit $53.9 billion, which had to be increased from the expected $56.6 billion, showing an increase of $2.6 billion in a matter of one month. As a result, this increase leaves America with the widest trade gap since October 2008. Also, America’s trade deficit with China alone hit $30.6 billion, which is an increase of 16%, and our Canadian trade deficit hit the highest America has seen since 2015. In the end, it shows how crucial President Trump’s trade policies are to protecting American industries and jobs. President Trump has implemented, with the help of Congress, much-needed tax cuts to Americans at a time when we needed it most. He has slashed regulations that stifled job growth and innovations, and now is working to counter foreign gaming of trade, when it is needed most. As a result of Congressional Conservatives, and especially President Trump, it has caused consumer sentiment to rise to all time highs, increased economic activity, and now is stopping the out of control takeover of American businesses and manufacturing jobs by foreign gaming of the system. The hemorrhaging of steelmaking, aluminum, solar, and other manufacturing jobs must come to an end. The gaming of the system by foreign governments by using the World Trade Organization and NAFTA to steal American manufacturing businesses and jobs. With more than half of America’s aluminum smelters have been bankrupted by China’s aluminum dumping. China has been doing these predatory trade practices not only to corner the market, but China needs constant growth. It needs to export its unemployment and poverty. If they don’t, under their communist regime, it would lead to widespread poverty, leading to public anger, and ultimately leading to political instability. A scenario that would not end well with China’s 1.5 billion citizens. In a nutshell, China needs America, more than we need China, and President Trump doesn’t blame China, or other nations for making smart business decisions. Instead he blames American leadership and foreign policy. As a result, President Trump is seizing the opportunity to reign in bad trade deals. He is putting an end to allowing other countries to be able to bilk America out of manufacturing and subsequently American jobs.
Today, we hear the cry of Conservatives who claim that tariffs are bad policy and that they go against free trade. Some credit tariffs for causing the Great Depression, but that narrative has been overplayed, as there were a multitude of other factors that brought about the Depression. Also, if you go back to Adam Smith, one of the first free trade proponents, he said that there are times when you must impose tariffs on imports, especially when those same foreign countries are levying hefty tariffs on American goods. Otherwise, foreign competitors can put American manufacturers at a major disadvantage. Presidents like Ronald Reagan embraced tariffs to keep foreign competitors from gaining an edge in the manufacturing industries.
In fact, President Reagan ordered ‘measures in 1984 that the White House said would reduce steel imports and help the American steel industry. These were called “voluntary restraint agreements” with trading partners, but they were only voluntary in name. The administration said it would block access to the American market for any country that refused to agree to the voluntary restraint. Later in his Administration, Reagan went further by imposing a 100 percent tariff on some Japanese-made computers, televisions, and power tools. Following the Reagan tariffs, there were no trade wars. Then, in 2002 the Bush Administration imposed tariffs on steel amid howls by protesters and free-traders. Following the Bush tariffs, there were no trade wars. In fact, both instances, free-traders warned that tariffs would backfire, but it didn’t in either instance.
Today, American’s are bombarded with the idea that tariffs are anti-conservative, evil, and wrong. However, that is not the entire truth. Tariffs can be abused by imposing blanketed tariffs across the board, but that is not what the President is doing. As Reagan and other conservative Presidents have shown, tariffs can be used it as a tool to balance against the abuses of other countries. America’s leadership over the years have become complacent, leading to massive trade imbalances that have tied the hands of the American manufacturing sector, and costing losses of factories and jobs.
Despite this reality, Capitol Hill Establishment Republicans went into a meltdown after President Trump announced his plans to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Fabian-Rinos like Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, and other Fabian’s attacked the President, while Progressives joined in while proclaimed the tariffs as a ‘tax increase on American families.’ They called Trump’s policies as weak, and compared President Trump’s tariff policies to leftist Democrats. However, those very same Fabian-Rino Republicans and Democrats embraced and defended trade agreements that were horrible for American manufacturing sectors. They supported trade agreements like TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), and NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). Meanwhile, Mainstream Media outlets in the United States and throughout Europe attacked Trump’s tariff proposals as ‘dangerous.’ The European Union and China attacked the trade proposals as ‘stupid.’ Ironically, all these groups and people have one thing in common…They all are constantly fighting against putting ‘America First,’ while simultaneously pushing for a One-World Socialist government. For that reason, they oppose President Trump’s policies, not only in trade, but immigration, taxes, and all of his various ‘America First’ agenda items.
President Trump could utilize the ‘The Tariff Act of 1930 (Smoot-Hawley Act) to restrict the importation of goods and products manufactured with “slave labor” and “child labor.” In fact, it bans the importation and sale in the U.S. of any goods produced by slave labor or child labor. An act that would be devastating to countries like China. Unfortunately, it has never been enforced by any American Administration. However, Trump is already well on his way to re-establishing America as a force to be reckoned with. He is pushing for ‘America First’, but not in an arrogant way. He blatantly said to the world leaders that he does not expect them to put ‘America First’, but instead put their own countries interests first. Trump is re-leveling the playing field so American manufacturers and workers are not put at a major disadvantage, like so many Administrations before.
President Trump has even announced, in regards to Canada and Mexico, that he may reconsider tariffs on aluminum and steel in exchange for new terms on the terrible NAFTA Trade Deal that was implemented under the Bill Clinton Presidential Administration.
President Trump tweeted:
Currently, with our large trade deficits between the United States and Canada, and the United States and Mexico, NAFTA has played a huge part in causing those deficits, causing mass relocation of manufacturing companies and jobs. President Trump also mentioned how NAFTA is hurting the American farmers, and noted that Mexico must do more to help stop drugs from pouring across the border, into America.
According to the New York Times
“The White House expects, it said, that the agreements to be negotiated will hold foreign steel to 18 1/2 percent of the American market. So far this year imports have averaged about 25 percent of the market. In July they surged to 33 percent.”
Furthermore, despite free-traders claiming doom for our economy, both Reagan and Bush were re-elected. Also, despite Trump getting attacked by the Fabian-Rino globalists, Progressive Socialist globalists, and free traders, Trump is the one who has it right. When American manufacturers have taxes levied on them, while foreign manufacturers do not, it creates an imbalance that hurts American manufacturers, while promoting foreign manufacturers. Certainly, not a scenario that puts American manufacturing jobs first, and consequently not putting ‘America First’ either.
According to Rasmussen Reports, roughly 50 percent of Americans said the federal government should “place tariffs on goods from countries that pay very low wages to their workers,” as opposed to only 26 percent of Americans who said tariffs should not be imposed on foreign countries. Americans are right, not to be so concerned with steel tariffs. That is because the U.S. is the largest importer of steel in the world. In fact, the U.S. import four times more than it exports, and even with the Trump tariffs in place, it will remain a huge importer. It would be insanity for foreign nations to retaliate against America, as their biggest customer.
This week, not allowing the critics to persuade him, President Trump has imposed tariffs on foreign goods like solar panels, refrigerators, steel, and aluminum. He temporarily excluded Mexico and Canada from the steel and aluminum tariffs to give the two NAFTA trading partners time to renegotiate the trade deal, to create a more level trading field. However, he has put China, the European Union, Canada, Mexico, and all other foreign nations on notice. They can either re-work their trade deals with the United States, create a fair and equal playing field for all manufacturers, or they will be faced with growing tariffs on imports into the worlds largest consumer market…The American people. In the end, it is very likely that China finally falls into line. It is very likely that the President can bring Mexico and Canada back to the negotiating table to rewrite NAFTA. Rewrite it where it makes sense for not only Mexico and Canada, but the United States as well. It is also likely that President Trump’s policies will help to spur the United Kingdom to speed Brexit along, so they can draw up a new trade deal with the United States, and gain exemptions from the American and European Union tariffs. It is likely that President Trump can gain leverage over the World Trade Organization to force their hand. And ultimately, it is likely that the President’s policies could spur other European Union nations to withdraw from the EU. An achievement that would be a step forward, for the good of mankind. President Trump’s tariff policy is an action that is the right move, at the right time. America has been vulnerable to blackmail by China, and that is dangerous for America. America is losing jobs to China, Mexico, and other countries because of NAFTA and other trade policies. America is losing the trade war because of bad leadership in recent years. America is losing manufacturing companies and jobs due to poor trade decisions. Fortunately, now we now have a President who is finally willing to face the realities of our world economy. A reality that has been ignored by recent Presidents, and our political leadership in Washington. America has in recent years become dependent on China. A dependency that is both bad for American jobs, and dangerous for American National Security. Now, President Trump is putting American manufacturing first! He is putting American jobs first! He is putting the American people first! And, in doing so, President Trump is fighting to ensure that he helps to ultimately, ‘Make America Great Again’!
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