Readers Write: Trump scores big on trade

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My old friend, Donald Davrett, criticized President Trump for “tirade[s],” “simplistic and hateful characterization,” “bluster and name-calling” (“Trump notches another economic failure,” Roslyn Times, Sept. 11). Then he proceeds to show us how such is done in his simplistic argument ad hominem; long on heat and short on light.

In discussing trade and tariffs Davrett omitted the premise of Trump’s March 2018 tweet. More completely it read: “When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good and easy to win.” From 2000 to 2017 our balance of trade varied between negative $361 billion and negative $761 billion.

In human terms our manufacturing base in many industries, from clothing to computers, virtually disappeared. Davrett’s opinion, that the factory is archaic and not needed, is suburban elitist typical of today’s “progressives.”

Davrett relied on his 20 years in manufacturing for his “wisdom” that “manufacturing seeks low production costs.” But what he failed to tell us is that China unfairly lowers its export costs by subsidizing otherwise failing industries to eliminate foreign competition.

A second major unethical Chinese practice is stealing our technology through forced technology transfers.  China forces foreign businesses to share their technology in exchange for market access.  When a company wants to enter the Chinese market, China compels the firm to share its technology with Chinese companies. That “market access” lasts till the Chinese company displaces the foreign one with the stolen technology combined with the subsidized pricing.

Not satisfied with subsidies and forced technology transfers China sponsored Chinese “students” and industrial interns to steal our technology at the source. China also bribes American tech and science professors to facilitate large-scale technology transfers from U.S. companies and universities to Chinese entities.  China conducts and supports cyber intrusions into U.S. companies to access their sensitive commercial information, such as trade secrets.

Many of these spies have recently been discovered, some were arrested, and others fled back home. One such female medical intern claimed to have been a nurse in China. A photo of her in a Chinese army officer’s uniform was discovered.

In connection with these depredations, the Trump administration shut down the Chinese Houston embassy, which was evidently coordinating the spying activities. Workers could be seen burning their files in the back yard.

Far from failure Trump should be credited with many trade and other economic accomplishments. He has kept his promise to crack down on trade cheaters and to promote fair and equal trade.

The United States and China have reached an historic and enforceable agreement on a Phase-One trade deal that requires structural reforms and other changes to China’s economic and trade regime in the areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, and currency and foreign exchange. Shortly thereafter the China virus hit, causing bad feelings between us and delaying Phase-Two negotiations. China’s hope for Biden’s election will likely freeze progress till after the election. I’m not even getting into Hunter Biden’s lucrative deals with China and the Ukraine.

With the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA), the Trump administration successfully fulfilled the president’s promise to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.  It halted the loss of many thousands of jobs to Mexico,  opened new markets for U.S. farmers and manufacturers,  encouraged increased manufacturing in the U.S.  allowing workers and small businesses to flourish.

We also concluded a lobster trade agreement with the EU that eliminated tariffs and opened markets for our fisherman.

Davrett also lists as “economic failures” job growth, GDP, and “near total obliteration of our defenses against pandemic outbreaks,” and asserts that Trump “could never match the record of [Obama] even if the pandemic had never happened.”

Till the pandemic hit Trump’s pro-growth policies generated 6 million new jobs, the unemployment rate fell to its lowest point in 50 years, and wages grew at over 3 percent for 10 months in a row. The manufacturing industry created nearly half a million new jobs. A total 625,000 new construction jobs were created since President Trump took office. Hispanic, Asian and African American unemployment rates have all reached record lows. There were more than a million more job openings than unemployed persons in the U.S.

In President Obama’s final year, 2016, GDP growth was 1.6 percent. In President Trump’s first three years it was 2.4, 2.9 and 2.3 percent. President Trump faulted the Obama administration, and rival Joe Biden for leaving the U.S. unprepared for the coronavirus crisis, as he took executive action to replenish federal stockpiles of medical supplies. “Never again will another president inherit empty shelves or expired products,” Mr. Trump said on a visit to a medical supply distribution company near Allentown, Pennsylvania. “I’m determined that America will be fully prepared for any of the future outbreaks.”

I’m also not getting into President Trump’s Middle East successes for which he has so far received two nominations for the Peace Nobel Prize; except to note that VP Biden opposed the mission to kill bin Laden.

Evidently Donald Davrett has been living on Mars.

 

Len Mansky

 

Roslyn

 

The writer is a former Democrat committeeman and president of the Greater Roslyn Democratic Club.

2 COMMENTS

  1. My Dear chaver,

    I hope this finds you in good health, and let me extend my best wishes to you and your beshert for health and happiness in the New Year.

    First, my learned friend, it may interest you to know that the trade deficit is now the highest it’s been in 12 years. Trade policy has been, by any account, an abject failure.

    Taking your points in turn:

    I was once an apparel executive, and I had a front row seat to the obliteration of the domestic apparel and textile industry, but this was well on it’s way before China entered the WTO. South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong were main points of production then, when China was still closed to the rest of the world. Those nations no longer produce apparel, because like us, their labor costs have risen to the point where the industry faded there, too.
    It’s also happening to China. It now has the highest labor costs in South Asia, and all the tariffs did was hasten the momentum to move production to Vietnam and Bangladesh. Trump is now threatening Vietnam, which shows the futility of bilateral trade arrangements. Other nations simply arbitrage them. Bangladesh’s growth rate is now exceeding India’s.

    As far as subsidizing exporters, we have been doing this for our Ag sector since WWII ended, especially the U.S. sugar industry, which undermined Latin American production for decades, and even the Wall Street Journal finds repugnant.That’s only ONE example. But it’s how the game is played. We still charge a 25% duty on light trucks, and that’s been in place since LBJ signed it into law.

    This is a common theme in trade discourse: America is a perfect angel, and everyone else cheats. That’s not how trade works.

    As far as the spying, what do you think goes on in OUR embassies?

    As far as the Phase One deal, as I mentioned, Trump was played. The Chinese aren’t even half way to meeting their commitments, and there is no enforcement mechanism in place.

    The Hunter Biden trope is rubbish, and as I have seen in your previous pieces, your “red pilling” is one of the most bizarre examples of the current state of our domestic discourse. Never mind that Trump has been funneling campaign donations directly to his own companies.

    In the meantime, The head of the HHS, Michael Caputo, accused the CDC of running a “deep state operation” against Trump. The CDC was once the pride of this country’s leadership in health. Now it’s a laughing stock, as is our State Department and DOJ.

    Help yourself to this lunacy.

    The USMCA was a nothing burger, and amounted to a few tweaks, which, by the way, are quite normal in trade matters as time passes. Now it’s a media event. It did not halt manufacturing migration.

    You write:
    “Till the pandemic hit Trump’s pro-growth policies generated 6 million new jobs, the unemployment rate fell to its lowest point in 50 years, and wages grew at over 3 percent for 10 months in a row”

    Job growth actually SLOWED once Trump took office, and the “record unemployment” was built on the previous administration’s efforts. I don’t know why people think this is a Trump victory. It’s like me taking the baton from Usain Bolt with 10 meters to go and claiming the gold medal for myself. Wage growth is a natural result of a tightening labor market, which Trump had little to do with.

    As far as GDP numbers, this is explained here:

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/when-does-gdp-matter-donald-davret/

    At this point, since the economy is in tatters, I don’t think it’s a talking point anymore.

    You write:
    “President Trump faulted the Obama administration, and rival Joe Biden for leaving the U.S. unprepared for the coronavirus crisis, as he took executive action to replenish federal stockpiles of medical supplies.”

    In fact, the supplies were there. On February 7th, Mike Pompeo announced the shipment of 17.8 TONS of PPE to the hated Chinese.

    https://www.state.gov/the-united-states-announces-assistance-to-combat-the-novel-coronavirus/

    These are the same Chinese that Trump “had a great relationship with” and was “controlling the virus,” until it became the “Kung Flu.” I would laugh at this stuff if 200,000 Americans hadn’t died from this malfeasance and ineptitude. .

    “I’m also not getting into President Trump’s Middle East successes for which he has so far received two nominations for the Peace Nobel Prize.”

    A simple check would have shown you that the “nominations” are bogus and were suggested by a right wing politician in Norway. I doubt if the nominating committee will take it up.

    Len, I think it’s time you moved to The Villages.

    L’shanah tovah, anyway.

    Your disappointed friend,

    Don

  2. Not a view of is tariff good or not, research upon research shows Trump’s trade tariff has done little more than increasing the costs to consumers on imports and their domestic replacements, in the other words, the importers, resellers and mostly consumers bear the lion of share of the burden, not the Chinese. The trade deficit has not narrowed but widened. Like many others Trump have claimed victory on, if one bothers to look closer, they are great marketing slogans with little substances. this emperor has no clothes.

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