The 2016 Presidential Election was among the most divisive in US history. On November 8,2016, President Donald J. Trump prevailed over former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to secure the presidency until the 2020 election. Among the more popular tenets of his platform was a firm stance on international trade, which was often referred to as an “America-first” policy.
Since the election, the Trump administration has remained focused on reforming the United States’ international trade relationships. The President has been clear about his opposition to trade deals like NAFTA, and has been a vocal critic of the economic tension between the United States and China. The following paragraphs have been sourced from the 2016 Republican Platform. These ideas are the basis for decisions on international trade under the Trump administration, and offer an idea of what to expect from the current government.
As we move closer to the first year of the Trump administration we take a look back to the Republican view on trade.
The Republican Party
International trade is crucial for all sectors of America’s economy. Massive trade deficits are not. We envision a worldwide multilateral agreement among nations committed to the principles of open markets, what has been called a “Reagan Economic Zone,” in which free trade will truly be fair trade for all concerned.
We need better negotiated trade agreements that put America first. When trade agreements have been carefully negotiated with friendly democracies, they have resulted in millions of new jobs here at home supported by our exports. When those agreements do not adequately protect U.S. interests, U.S. sovereignty, or when they are violated with impunity, they must be rejected.
We cannot allow foreign governments to limit American access to their markets while stealing our designs, patents, brands, know-how, and technology. We cannot allow China to continue its currency manipulation, exclusion of U.S. products from government purchases, and subsidization of Chinese companies to thwart American imports. The current Administration’s way of dealing with these violations of world trade standards has been a virtual surrender.
Republicans understand that you can succeed in a negotiation only if you are willing to walk away from it. A Republican president will insist on parity in trade and stand ready to implement countervailing duties if other countries refuse to cooperate.
At the same time, we look to broaden our trade agreements with countries which share our values and commitment to fairness, along with transparency in our commercial and business practices. In pursuing that objective, the American people demand transparency, full disclosure, protection of our national sovereignty, and tough negotiation on the part of those who are supposed to advance the interests of U.S. workers. Significant trade agreements should not be rushed or undertaken in a Lame Duck Congress.
Download the complete Republican platform.