Since Donald Trump does not have a long political record on which to look back and examine, we’ve been in a sort of wait-and-see mode about what his policies will actually mean for the United States. Of great concern, of course, is economic policy and what this businessman-turned-politician sees as the important ingredients in making an economy strong. Because it’s always the economy, stupid.
In a recent sit down with The Economist, Trump was asked to define ‘Trumponomics’:
Well it’s an interesting question. I don’t think it’s ever been asked quite that way. But it really has to do with self-respect as a nation. It has to do with trade deals that have to be fair, and somewhat reciprocal, if not fully reciprocal. And I think that’s a word that you’re going to see a lot of, because we need reciprocality in terms of our trade deals.
Reciprocity and some level of fairness are key features.
We have nations where…they’ll get as much as 100% of a tax or a tariff for a certain product and for the same product we get nothing, OK? It’s very unfair.
On the question of whether he’s for or against free trade, he says, “I’m absolutely a free-trader. I’m for open trade, free trade, but I also want smart trade and fair trade.”
This sounds good. So, what about NAFTA?
And I was going to terminate NAFTA last week, I was all set, meaning the six-month termination. I was going to send them a letter, then after six months, it’s gone. But the word got out, they called and they said, we would really love to…they called separately but it was an amazing thing. They called separately ten minutes apart. I just put down the phone with the president of Mexico when the prime minister of Canada called. And they both asked almost identical questions. “We would like to know if it would be possible to negotiate as opposed to a termination.” And I said, “Yes, it is. Absolutely.” So, so we did that and we’ll start.
So, a renegotiation of NAFTA seems imminent, if not already in progress.
There’s a lot of good back-and-forth between The Economist and Trump (plus, Steve Mnuchin and Gary Cohn), but, as is typical with Trump, he takes a long time to make his point. It’s worth the read, though, to get a clearer picture of where the administration is headed with the economy in general and trade/NAFTA in particular.