What will trade look like in a Trump presidency?

Nov 11, 2016

Trade is good for the United States and its workers. That was the message delivered Thursday night to the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has long included its support of free and fair trade in its policy prospectus. The chamber's John Murphy was at Daemen College, speaking to the local trade group. He is senior vice president of international policy for the chamber.

In his talk, he ran through a long list of trade statistics demonstrating how trade has provided millions of jobs here  and that America actually sells more than it buys from the 20 countries with which it has trade deals.

Credit WBFO file photo

Murphy said modernizing trade deals like NAFTA with Canada and Mexico is worth studying, but doing away with it - as is a possibility in a Donald Trump presidency - would be a mistake.

"You'll find that there's interest in beginning a conversation to see what can be done to modernize an agreement that's more than 20 years old, but what does that mean?" Murphy asked. "I think the idea that we would simply withdraw and revert to those 30 percent tariffs that were in place in Mexico, for instance, tariffs against U.S. exports, that would be a loser for the U.S. economy."

Murphy says even trade statistics can be accurate while being misleading. He points to Apple's iPhone as an example how trade deals can cloud issues.

"It comes into the country from China," said Murphy. "It appears in our trade balance as an import from China, adding to a trade deficit with China, but more than 85 percent of the value of an iPhone is created and retained in the United States, in the original design, in the intellectual property that's created."