Trump’s China Trade Policy Positively Impacts American Manufacturing

During the Trump administration we’ve seen a series of records fall when it comes to employment. Wages, minority unemployment rates, female employment, etc. But one of the most impressive areas of growth is one that seemed so impossible to his predecessor, that he dismissively mocked Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign, for his claims he’d bring it back. Manufacturing. And two and a half years into his Presidency he has. 

There are 330,000 more manufacturing jobs in the US today than there were in January of 2017. After declines in manufacturing jobs every year from 2005-2016, we were told quite literally by President Obama that those jobs weren’t coming back. Much like the 80% increase in cost in healthcare during the first eight years of the not so Affordable Care Act, he was wrong. 

Not only has deregulation in the manufacturing industry along with a more favorable tax environment spurred a multi-year resurgence in manufacturing, his trade policies have proven effective as well. Most reporting of President Trump’s trade policy is shallow, often dismissive and commonly contains a dearth off actual information about what has been transforming in business trade. Not to mention, most reporters lack any of the basic economic understanding necessary to accurately portray what’s real even if they stumble on the facts. 

I’ve used the example of the Chinese solar tariffs and Jinko Solar as an example to illustrate the point, so I’ll highlight it again. When Trump placed the tariffs on Chinese solar,we were told by news media and their leftist political friends that it would cripple the solar industry in the US and drive up costs. Instead what happened is that China’s largest solar company, Jinko, opened a Jacksonville based manufacturing plant. One that’s now the third largest module factory in the United States and employees 500+ people. That only happened because of President Trump’s trade policy and solar prices are lower today than prior to the tariffs being placed on Chinese solar. But the thing is there are numerous but different examples of that occurring across the country and based on the latest info – it's only going to accelerate from here. 

Research from the American Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with PwC, shows that nearly 27% of American multi-national companies are redirecting business investments away from China. And where’s a lot of that being redirected? Right here at home. That’s potentially a win-win. It’s true that protectionist policies would hurt us economically at a certain point but we’re not generally there yet. There was no longer balance in manufacturing and global trade. We’d made it so expensive to manufacture anything here that most companies didn’t. By creating a better value proposition to manufacture in the US, while holding a bad actor like China more accountable for their policies we’ve made progress and the indications currently suggest we’ll continue to do so going forward. 

Photo by: Getty Images North America

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