President Trump: Make a Great Trade Deal Now

Thom Dammrich | President, National Marine Manufacturers Association

From candidate to commander-in-chief, President Trump has consistently decried America’s trade deficit and China’s relentless unfair trade practices. And since the very beginning, his devotion to fixing the nation’s “failed” trade policies has been unwavering.

Since his inauguration, the president has taken direct action to address our trade deficit and right the wrongs China has inflicted upon American businesses and workers. As such, he should be commended for his commitment to solving these problems.

The president’s vision and resolute focus have opened the door to forging bold trade deals that truly make and keep us competitive. We strongly encourage him to take note and strike while the iron is hot.

The recent announcement that President Trump reached an agreement with the European Union (EU) to begin substantive trade talks is a great opportunity to ensure American businesses have fair and free access to a large international market. What took months of work may be paying off. To expedite the process, the EU and United States should immediately remove all recently imposed tariffs.

The rationale here is simple yet powerful. Beginning negotiations in good faith is the best way for both sides to get a fair deal — something American businesses, consumers, and workers deserve.

Additionally, removing these tariffs will protect American-made industries that have been targeted by retaliatory tariffs, including the marine manufacturing industry — from experiencing more harm.

But the Trump administration’s work should not stop with the EU. Now that they have successfully created a blueprint for striking deals, they should implement the same strategy with other trading partners, especially Canada and Mexico. Like the EU, both countries are longstanding allies that do a significant amount of business with the United States, and there is very little reason, if any at all, for delaying action with either country another day.

Furthermore, the Trump administration should make the most of the recent progress with NAFTA negotiations to resolve all outstanding issues, with retaliatory tariffs at the top of the list.

Of course, making a deal with China will be more difficult. But that doesn’t mean the administration should give up on it entirely; global supply chains are far too important to simply ignore.

Very few people, if any, dispute China’s unfair treatment of American companies and entrepreneurs. China’s theft of intellectual property is well-documented and is a blatant affront to American innovation.

As the president continues to ratchet up the pressure on China, it’s important that the tactics align with the goal. So far, the administration’s tariffs — while well-intentioned — have missed the mark. As a result, U.S. businesses are suffering from Chinese aggression and higher prices.

Rather than using a shotgun approach to punish China, the administration should employ a more refined strategy that targets those responsible for manipulating U.S. companies and stealing their property.

President Trump has followed through on his promise to rework old trade deals and crack down on bad actors. That is welcome news for U.S. industries like ours. Unfortunately and all too often, political considerations hinder lofty policy goals from becoming reality. While we appreciate President Trump’s resolve, it’s time to pivot to the next phase of the strategy.

We urge the president to act swiftly and capitalize on the momentum he has created by solidifying trade deals with our allies.

Additionally, the administration should ensure actions against China realize their stated goals of leveling the playing field and stopping theft and manipulation. Otherwise, American businesses, consumers, and workers will face the consequences, and that certainly isn’t going to make or keep America great.

Thom Dammrich is President of the National Marine Manufacturers Association — the leading trade organization for the North American recreational boating industry.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

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