Following the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States, our country’s trade agreements and trade policies face an uncertain future.
Elected, in part, on a platform of trade reform and promises to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, President Trump has wasted little time in making his vision a reality. On his first week in office, Trump formally abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Fears that the TPP could lead to further outsourcing of US-based manufacturing jobs to lower-wage countries led to its distrust by politicians on both sides of the aisle. Throughout the campaign, opposition to the agreement became a key part of President Trump’s message, eventually abandoning the TPP January 23rd.
The Trump administration has promised to reopen the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and renegotiate it in a way that is favorable to all parties involved. While all participating countries have expressed a willingness to reopen the negotiations, exactly how this renegotiation will take shape or what will result from it remain to be seen.
It is important to note that anti-globalization and opposition to free trade are not solely a product of President Trump’s campaign and administration. Due to a combination of outsourcing, automation, and technology, over 4.5 million US-based manufacturing jobs have been lost since 1994. The economic struggles that resulted from the wake of this job loss have helped usher in a new era of distrust of the principles of free trade and globalization that have dominated the world economy for decades.
Last year I had the privilege of having been invited to serve on the Logistics Task Force for The Borderplex Alliance. I recently had the chance to speak with Jon Barela, CEO of The Borderplex Alliance. The former Economic Development Secretary for the State of New Mexico, Mr. Barela was selected to lead The Borderplex Alliance in the fall of 2016.