Tariff like it's 1897, Trump's Great Economy, Maybe the Best Ever


Just listened to yesterday’s Marketplace earlier today. Kai had on a guy who has a leather goods manufacturing company, and supports the tariffs.

The thing that struck me about this interview is that the guy admits that he’s been able to do OK without the tariffs. First he went to China and did business there, and “…was making a fortune and felt dirty.” Then he went to the Dominican Republic: “…we started a plant in the D.R., the oldest democracy in the Caribbean — a country that tends to support our values a bit more than China — and struggled for many years to make it against China down there but came out on the good side of it… the materials we use when we produce in the Dominican Republic are U.S. materials made by U.S. workers. So even if you keep it on this side of the world, you’re supporting U.S. manufacturing.”

(Quick aside - I’ve been to the DR and lemme tell you, it’s not a place you want to hold up as a paragon of democracy.)

Even the supporters of these tariffs can’t provide good justifications. They’d already found ways to compete with China.

And then he says the business is “…growing by leaps and bounds. First, because of the threat of these tariffs, and now, my goodness, it looks like they’re really happening. So we’re tightening our seat belts and just trying to grow as fast as we can.” And what happens when the tariffs end and Chinese goods are back in play? (Which knowing our President, could be any time for any reason.) There’s no foresight here at all.


I also thought that interview was weird. Not only that but he justified it because he was losing bids even while bidding 10% under material. So how is a 10% tarrif going to bring it to profitability?

It also annoyingly suffers from “it’s good for me so that’s all that matters”.


Canada and the US have reached a new trade deal. It seems like the US will have greater access to the dairy market. I wonder if this means that supply management has gotten the axe. I wonder who ended up winning. I sure hope it wasn’t Donald Trump. Interesting to see what will happen to milk prices. We normally pay $4.27 for…is it 4L of milk? I actually have never checked that closely.


I really don’t see why we couldn’t let the NAFTA negotiations go on indefinitely tbh, but I think Trudeau needs something concrete going into 2019.

Still seems like generally very small adjustments to NAFTA that really do not merit the energy spent (the dairy sector is a tiny percentage of overall trade).


Trump needed it done by the end of September so he could send it to Congress and sign it before Mexico’s new president takes over.


I just finished Woodward’s Fear. Bob spent a lot of time of time writing about the trade discussion inside the Whitehouse. Pretty much all of the free trader types have been replaced. Mattis, Kelly, and Larry Kudlow are pretty much the only ones left and only Larry has much input into the economy. I can’t imagine the universe that Trump and I will be on the same side of a trade agreement.

In Fear, Bob describes Trump writing on a piece of paper, “Trade is Bad”.



From what I read, yeah, it’s pretty small. The US gets access to a very small slice of the dairy market (somewhat larger than they would have gotten under the TPP). But the Canadian dairy market it pretty small, so it’s a small slice of a small slice. Plus reverting some pricing changes that were recently made.

Overall it seems like Trump just wants to say that he is a brilliant negotiator and the NAFTA tweaks transform a rotten deal to an awesome deal.

The main thing I wonder is if any deal with Trump is worth the paper it is written on. Apparently there are specific measures protecting the auto sector from temper tantrum Trump tariffs, but if the baby in chief decides to ignore that, then what? I guess if the Democrats take the house, they could do something.


Oh, lord. Is this entire thing because Trump wants “US” to be part of the agreement, or alternately, doesn’t want to admit that “America” can refer to the continent as well as the country?

We should just rebrand NAFTA as The “Good America and other Americas Trade Agreement” and be done with it.


It’s a great acronym. All you have to do is replace the drawn-out ‘Y’ with a quick ‘US’, and you’ve got a very catchy song. Beyond my singing or video skills, but someone will do it by noon today.


I’d imagine the key thing is that Canada is mentioned last - will be a great sound bite that its ranked in the order of importance.


Canada should just tell Trump that the first is worst and the last is best, and the ones in the middle have a hairy chest (sorry Mexico).


Canada is a european country, or at least most of the population is european. I believe the king of canada lives in london, or something.

Albion lives eternal!


I think @marquac would agree this is correct.


I am shaking with impotent rage.




From the WSJ article, it sounds like auto workers in US and Canada are big winners, US auto companies modest winners, and Mexican autoworkers are the losers since there is a effectively a cap on the number of them.

US Dairy farmers are winners and Canadian farmer are losers. Simplifying the dispute resolution system is probably a good things, only time will tell if they accomplished their goal.

But definitely a big win for replacing NAFTA with an unpronounceable acronym.



Does this new trade agreement put an end to our steel and aluminum tariffs?


All things considered, this worked out fine. It could have been a disaster, but things have resolved and the initial reading looks like we have some minor changes from NAFTA. Certainly not the seismic change and win that Trump will make it out to be, but at least it wasn’t another big loss


I think the answer is yes in the case of Mexico and no for Canada. They have to be negotiated separately, although all tariffs could disappear if Congress just took back the Presidents authority to set them.