Report From The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM)
President-elect Donald Trump focused on many hot-button issues during the Republican primaries and the general election in which he defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump, ever the savvy salesman, began the dialogue about American manufacturing and trade right out of the gate, despite the traditional Republican mantra promoting “free trade agreements.”
Trump quickly promised crackdowns on unfair trade deals and called NAFTA the “worst trade agreement ever.” He was particularly focused on China and Mexico where many American manufacturers have moved their factories to increase profits. He promised 45 percent tariffs on China if it continued to “dump” its overcapacity of steel in the United States because it was costing America millions of dollars and middle-class jobs.
It was a “do as I say, not as I do” situation. Trump used steel manufactured in China to build the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas and purchased Chinese-made aluminum for the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. It is likely he has built additional structures with Chinese steel. He has a penchant for having his products manufactured in other parts of the world. We know he is an eager consumer of low-cost products made in China, Mexico and many other offshore manufacturers around the globe. His suits and neckties are made in China, while his furniture and kitchen goods lines are also manufactured overseas.
Trump’s early statements about the steel industry and manufacturing in general are considered important reasons why he did so well winning most of the “Rust Belt” states on election night.On June 28, 2016 in Monessen, Pennsylvania, an area once the heartland of the American steel industry, Trump was in full-fear mongering in a speech before thousands of people affected by the crash of American steel.