Last month I discussed the importance of NAFTA. I mentioned how the U.S. imposing tariffs on three paper mills here would cost 1,000 jobs in the state of Maine. Such are the complexities of this agreement. But as I delved further into how it might affect our printing industry, I came across another overriding factor. Keeping track of Donald Trump’s lies about NAFTA is absolutely exhausting. It really is. So I’m going to relay a few facts (yes, facts), as opposed to his rhetorical talking points, as heated negotiations between the three countries continue.
Trumpism: He said that NAFTA was to blame for high U.S. unemployment.
Fact: At the same time, he bragged that the U.S. unemployment rate of 4.2% is the lowest in 16 years.
Trumpism: Candidate Trump said he would rip up NAFTA.
Fact: There are literally tens of thousands of American voters whose jobs depend on NAFTA – including in the majority of states that voted for him.
Trumpism: NAFTA is to blame for the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs.
Fact: U.S. factories today produce about twice as much as they did in the mid-1980s before NAFTA was negotiated. And on, and on, and on!
All that said, yes, some workers lose and some win with any trade agreement. And yes, the 25-year-old pact should be re-negotiated to bring it inline with today’s economic realities. But just about every fiscal expert here and south of the border, regardless of political preference, agrees on one thing – tearing it up or changing it significantly would be disastrous for the economies of all three countries. Fortunately, Trump appears to have backed down from trashing NAFTA. At press time, however, Canada’s negotiators were frustrated with what they called America’s “winner take all” attitude. Sound familiar? I wish I could tell you more, but until final agreements are made, we’re in limbo as to how it will affect our industry. And Trump’s meandering rhetoric doesn’t help.
When it comes to trade deals, I hope the U.S. President can remember (he’s already told us how incredibly smart he is) the words of Sir Isaac Newton as he explained his third law of physics: “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” Oh and Donald, that’s Isaac Newton, not Cam Newton (quarterback for the Carolina Panthers).
Until next time, always remember that we’re here to help.