Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed master negotiator, is not doing much to help the United States in trade negotiations with other countries.
Under his leadership, the trade deficit in goods with China set a new record during his second year in office. This came despite his efforts to stop what he has claimed are Beijing’s trade agreement violations.
Not only that, but the overall U.S. trade deficit also reached a 10-year high in 2018. The deficit jumped nearly 19% in December to $59.8 billion, according to a government report that was delayed by the government shutdown earlier in the year.
That’s the single biggest monthly gap since October 2008, at the height of the financial crisis.The December increase pushed the total trade deficit for the full year to a near-record $621 billion.
These sobering trade figures are coming even though there have been frantic efforts by Trump to reduce the trade gap by imposing taxes (also known as tariffs) on goods imported into the United States.
Trump’s Tariffs Have Hurt American Consumers and Farmers
What these numbers show is that there is very strong demand on the part of American consumers to buy foreign goods. The primary impact of Trump’s tariffs is to increase the prices paid by Americans for those goods.
By trying to micromanage the economy using failed policies, Trump has imposed an additional tax on U.S. consumers. And these consumers vote. Come the 2020 election, they are not likely to be too happy when they see that the prices they are paying for thousands of items have gone up significantly thanks to Trump.
Over the past year Trump imposed tariffs on over $250 billion worth of Chinese goods. He was attempting to pressure Beijing into trade talks that would produce a new trade agreement, but he has not been successful.
The negotiations Trump is leading aim to reduce the Chinese trade gap, but imports from China actually increased during the last months of 2018, after the tariffs went into effect.
This shows that Donald Trump doesn’t know what he is doing. He has greatly hurt farmers who depend on exports to survive, and now farm bankruptcies throughout the Midwest have increased to record levels also.
To satisfy his own ego, Donald Trump entered a trade war that he thinks he can easily win. But as he and all Americans have discovered, nobody wins a trade war. In fact, with his actions as president, Donald Trump has caused all Americans be become losers. Hopefully the national nightmare of the Trump presidency will end soon.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.