Sean Hackbarth Sean Hackbarth
Senior Editor, Digital Content, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


March 31, 2017


President Donald Trump took action on one of the signature issues he ran on in the 2016 election: Trade.

He signed two Executive Orders, CNN reports:

Trump's executive orders will initiate a large-scale review of the causes of the US's trade deficits with some of its largest trading partners and order stricter enforcement of US anti-dumping laws to prevent foreign manufacturers from undercutting US companies by selling goods at an unfair price.

U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue reacted in a statement:

While trade deficits often don’t tell us much about the overall health of our economy, it is a good time to examine our various trading relationships to increase opportunities for American companies to compete on a level playing field.

It is worth remembering that some of our best years of economic growth have produced our largest trade deficits, while the Great Recession was accompanied by a sharp reduction in the trade deficit.

The Chamber supports strong enforcement of trade rules and agreements, as long as such enforcement is based on facts and the proper interpretation of those facts and not politics.

For some context, earlier this month, John Murphy, senior vice president for International Policy at the U.S. Chamber wrote about trade deficits and trade agreements:

[L]ooking at trade in goods and services for each of the past four years (2011-2015), the United States has had a modest trade surplus with its 20 trade agreement partners as a group.

He also points out that American workers and families reap the benefits of trade:

International trade has raised the average U.S. household’s annual income by more than $13,600. Studies show that consumer gains stemming from trade disproportionately accrue to the poor and middle classes.

When trade agreements are fairly negotiated and enforced, American companies and their workers can successfully compete with anyone, and America is better off as a result.

About the authors

Sean Hackbarth

Sean Hackbarth

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.

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