Donald Trump on Free Trade

2016 Republican incumbent President; 2000 Reform Primary Challenger for President


Plan to phase out all Chinese imports of essential goods

I will revoke China's most favorite nations trade status. I will have a four-year plan to phase out all Chinese imports of essential goods and gain total independence from China. We have to do it. We have to do it. I will hold China financially accountable for unleashing the China virus upon the world.
Source: Speech at the 2023 CPAC Conference in Maryland , Mar 4, 2023

FactCheck: 220,000 American cars sold in Europe, not zero

[Regarding the G7 Summit, where President Biden met with the leaders of Germany, France, and other European and Asian economic leaders]:

OTI transcript of Donald Trump's interview with Sean Hannity: "They [the Europeans] screw us on trade. They are in many ways worse than China, or as bad as China, on trade. How many Chevrolets are being sold in Berlin? Not too many. How many Chevrolets are being sold in Paris? Not too many. Maybe none. And yet, we sell their products -- their wines, and their cars, and their Mercedes, and their BMWs -- we sell it all over our country."

CNN Fact Check: Trump was criticizing the lack of reciprocity of certain countries in selling American goods here. But for the record, from what I could find, there were more than 200,000 Chevrolets registered in Germany in 2019. In the first half of the last decade, roughly 20,000 Chevrolets were being sold in France a year. Both of those numbers are larger than "none."

Source: CNN Fact-Check on 2024 candidates , Jun 17, 2021

Trade battles with China, Germany, Britain, France, & Canada

During most of 2018-2019, the US president launched the largest trade war in a generation. Though played out through goods and services rather than bullets, a trade war has a real effect on everyday lives. The US consumer bears the majority of costs passed along to businesses and hidden in the prices we pay. Economically struggling Americans feel the results in daily life, especially those who face stagnant wages that have not grown despite having the lowest unemployment we've ever had. The average American cannot recover from a trade war with the same resilience that a corporation can. The only solution will be to actually engage in a trade policy that is not based on populist brinksmanship, which is what we've seen played out for the last few years. As Trump positions China front and center, our country is also embroiled in trade battles with historic allies such as Germany, Britain, France, and Canada.
Source: Our Time Is Now, by Stacey Abrams, p.226 , Jun 9, 2020

Virus proves emphasis on American production

Trump, who has long pushed to boost domestic manufacturing as part of his "America First" ethos, says the coronavirus pandemic proves his point. "Look, there's nothing good about what happened with the plague -- especially the death -- but the one thing is, it said, 'Trump was right,'" Trump said. "These stupid supply chains that are all over the world ... one little piece of the world goes bad, and the whole thing is messed up." Trump did allude to taxes or tariffs on production done overseas.
Source: National Public Radio on Trump Administration , May 6, 2020

Fact check: Trump claims China is paying new tariffs

False claim: "You're not paying for those tariffs. China's paying for those tariffs," the president told an Ohio crowd. "Until such time as there is a deal, we will be taxing the hell out of China."

Economists and experts told NBC News this is false. Consumers purchasing foreign goods are the ones who picked up the tab. J.P. Morgan estimated the cost of these tariffs on average U.S. families was more than $1,000.

Source: NBC News analysis of impeaching Trump , Dec 31, 2019

Nominates opponent of World Bank to lead World Bank

President Donald Trump's pick to lead the World Bank described himself in 2011 remarks as a 25-year opponent to the institution & others like it, saying that they needed to be "thrown away" and started over from scratch. David Malpass made the comments while speaking to a local Republican gathering in Albertson, New York, in May 2011. CNN's KFile reviewed a recording of his remarks which were posted on YouTube at the time.

Trump's decision to nominate Malpass was met with some pushback, with critics contending Malpass held views that are hostile to the bank's mission, which is to reduce poverty in developing nations through financial assistance.

The US president has chosen the leader of the World Bank since its founding in 1945, but the pick has to be confirmed by the organization's board of directors. If confirmed, Malpass would succeed Jim Yong Kim, who was chosen by President Barack Obama in 2012 to lead the organization and re-nominated in 2016.

Source: Andrew Kaczynski, CNN KFile, on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Feb 14, 2019

Trade deals should be one-on-one that US can terminate

I've withdrawn America from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. So that we can protect our economic freedom. And we're going to make trade deals, but we're going to do one on one, and if they misbehave, we terminate the deal and then they'll come back and we'll make a better deal. None of these big quagmire deals that are a disaster. Take a look at NAFTA, one of the worst deals ever made by any country. It's economy un-development, as far as our country is concerned.
Source: Time magazine, "Trump speech at CPAC 2017" , Feb 24, 2017

Bernie Sanders and I agree: no big quagmire trade deals

Bernie [Sanders] people voted for Trump, you know why? Because he's right on one issue; trade. He was right about trade. Our country is being absolutely devastated with bad trade deals. So he was right about that; we got a lot of Bernie support. For too long, we've traded away our jobs to other countries.

I've followed through on my campaigning promise and withdrawn America from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. So that we can protect our economic freedom. And we're going to make trade deals, but we're going to do one-on-one, and if they misbehave, we terminate the deal and then they'll come back and we'll make a better deal. None of these big quagmire deals that are a disaster. Just take a look--by the way, take a look at NAFTA, one of the worst deals ever made by any country, having to do with economic development. It's economy un-development, as far as our country is concerned.

Source: Speech at the 2017 CPAC Convention , Feb 24, 2017

I disagreed with Ronald Reagan on trade; we need better

CLINTON: When I hear Donald's slogan, "Make America Great Again," I wonder when he thought America was great. And before he rushes and says, "You know, before you and President Obama were there," I think it's important to recognize that he has been criticizing our government for decades. Back in 1987, he took out a $100,000 ad in the New York Times, during the time when President Reagan was president, and basically said exactly what he just says now, that we were the laughingstock of the world. He was criticizing President Reagan.

TRUMP: Because I did disagree with Ronald Reagan very strongly on trade. I disagreed with him. We should have been much tougher on trade even then. I've been waiting for years. Nobody does it right.

CLINTON: This is the way Donald thinks about himself, puts himself into the middle and says, "I alone can fix it," as he said on the convention stage.

TRUMP: Yeah, we've heard this before, Hillary. And frankly, now we're going to do it right.

Source: Third 2016 Presidential Debate in Las Vegas , Oct 19, 2016

Stupid people negotiate our trade bills, & trade won't work

I'm totally against the trade bill for a number of reasons. I'm a free trader. But the problem with free trade is you need really talented people to negotiate for you. If you don't have people that know business, not just a political hack that got the job because he made a contribution to a campaign, free trade is terrible.

Free trade can be wonderful if you have smart people, but we have people that are stupid. We have people that are controlled by special interests. And it's just not going to work

Source: 2015 announcement speeches of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 16, 2015

Renegotiate tougher & fairer trade agreements

You only have to look at our trade deficit to see that we are being taken to the cleaners by our trading partners. We need tougher negotiations, not protectionist walls around America. We need to ensure that foreign markets are as open to our products as our country is to theirs. Our long-term interests require that we cut better deals with our world trading partners.
Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.145 , Jul 2, 2000

President should be nation’s trade representative

Denouncing United States trade policy, Trump promised to appoint himself as the nation’s trade representative, saying he would have no trouble serving both in that post and as president. He then attacked the current holder of the job, Charlene Barshefky. “Who is she?” demanded Trump. “I never heard of her!”
Source: nytimes.com/library/politics , Dec 10, 1999

World views US trade officials as ‘saps’

Trump said that US trade officials are viewed as “saps” around the world and have allowed the country to be ripped off in trade agreements. He called NAFTA a disaster and said leaders of other countries “can’t believe how easy it is to deal with the US.” He continued, “We are known as a bunch of saps. We need our best people to negotiate against the Japanese and many other countries.” As president, he would get the nation’s top business leaders - not diplomats - to negotiate for the country.
Source: Pat Eaton-Robb, Associated Press, on 2000 presidential race , Dec 2, 1999

Donald Trump on North American Trade

Fact-Check:USMCA mostly a cosmetic refreshing of NAFTA

President Trump said, "One of the single biggest promises I made to the American people was to replace the disastrous NAFTA trade deal. I replaced NAFTA and signed the brand new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) into law. The USMCA will create nearly 100,000 new high-paying American auto jobs, and massively boost exports for our farmers, ranchers, and factory workers."

Fact -Check: The agreement updates NAFTA, covering things such as digital commerce, which barely existed when the original deal was signed a quarter-century ago. But despite the president's claims, USMCA is mostly a cosmetic refreshing of NAFTA, not a wholesale replacement. On the whole, the USMCA's economic effects are expected to be modest. The main benefit of the deal is that it avoids the disruption that would have come had Trump made good on his threat to scrap NAFTA with no replacement.

Source: NPR Fact-Check on 2020 State of the Union address , Feb 4, 2020

FactCheck: NAFTA displaced 851,700; but net loss 15,000/year

CLAIM: Trump, in urging Congress to support his new trade agreement, said he had met men and women across the country whose "dreams were shattered by NAFTA" [implying job losses].

FACT-CHECK: One analysis of the Clinton-era North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) found that about 851,700 U.S. jobs were displaced by the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico between 1993 (shortly before NAFTA was implemented) and 2014. That's a data point that was cited by Bernie Sanders during his 2016 campaign, when he frequently decried job losses due to NAFTA.

A 2014 study found that while NAFTA has caused about 203,000 jobs to be displaced by NAFTA-related imports annually, imports support 188,000 new jobs, leading to a net loss of only about 15,000 annually.

And the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service wrote in 2017 that "in reality, NAFTA did not cause the huge job losses feared by the critics... because trade with Canada & Mexico accounts for a small percentage of U.S. GDP."

Source: NBC News Fact-Check on 2019 State of the Union address , Feb 6, 2019

USMCA delivers dreams shattered by catastrophe of NAFTA

A historic trade blunder was the catastrophe known as NAFTA. I have met the men & women whose dreams were shattered by NAFTA. For years, politicians promised them they would negotiate for a better deal. But no one ever tried--until now.

Our new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement--or USMCA--will replace NAFTA and deliver for American workers: bringing back our manufacturing jobs, expanding American agriculture, and ensuring that more cars are proudly stamped with four beautiful words: made in the USA.

Source: 2019 State of the Union address to United States Congress , Feb 5, 2019

NAFTA was worst trade deal ever; TPP is a close second

Trump: NAFTA was one of the worst things that ever happened to the manufacturing industry. You go to New England, you go to Ohio, Pennsylvania, you go anywhere you want, Secretary Clinton, and you will see devastation where manufacture is down 30, 40, sometimes 50 percent. NAFTA is the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in this country. And now [Clinton wants] to approve Trans-Pacific Partnership. You were totally in favor of it. Then you heard what I was saying, how bad it is, and you said, "I can't win that debate." But you know that if you did win, you would approve that, and that will be almost as bad as NAFTA. Nothing will ever top NAFTA.

Clinton: Well, that is just not accurate. I was against it once it was finally negotiated and the terms were laid out.

Source: First 2016 Presidential Debate at Hofstra University , Sep 26, 2016

With a $58 billion trade deficit, Mexico will pay for wall

RUBIO: About the trade war -- I don't understand, because your ties and the clothes are made in Mexico and in China. You're going to start a trade war against your own ties and suits. Why don't you make them in America?

TRUMP: We have a trade deficit with Mexico of $58 billion a year. We're going to make them pay for that wall. The wall is $10 billion to $12 billion. I don't mind trade wars when we're losing $58 billion a year. Mexico is taking our businesses. They de-value their currencies to such an extent that our businesses cannot compete with them, our workers lose their jobs. You wouldn't know anything about it because you're a lousy businessman.

Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary , Feb 25, 2016

35% import tax on Mexican border

Ford announces a few weeks ago that Ford is going to build a $2.5 billion car and truck and parts manufacturing plant in Mexico. I would call up the head of Ford, if I was president, I'd say, "Congratulations. I understand that you're building a nice $2.5 billion car factory in Mexico and that you're going to take your cars and sell them to the US zero tax, just flow them across the border."

And you say to yourself, "How does that help us? Where is that good"? It's not. So I would say, "Let me give you the bad news. Every car and every part manufactured in this plant that comes across the border, we're going to charge you a 35% tax, and that tax is going to be paid simultaneously with the transaction.

Now, if it's not me in the position, here's what's going to happen: They're going to get a call from the donors or from the lobbyist for Ford and say, "I take care of you, and you can't do that to Ford."

I'm using my own money. I'm not using the lobbyists. I'm not using donors. I don't care.

Source: 2015 announcement speeches of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 16, 2015

Donald Trump on Pacific Trade

China has already paid $28B to our farmers

Q: What specifically are you going to do to make China pay? You've said you're going to make them pay. New sanctions?

TRUMP: First of all, China is paying. They're paying billions and billions of dollars. I just gave $28 billion to our farmers.

BIDEN: Taxpayer's money. Didn't come from China.

TRUMP: No, no. You know who the taxpayer is? It's called China. China pays $28 billion, and you know what they did to pay it, Joe? They devalued their currency and they also paid up, and you know got the money? Our farmers, our great farmers, because they were targeted. You never charged them anything. Also, I charged them 25% on dumped steel, because they were killing our steel industry. We were not going to have a steel industry. And now we have a steel industry.

BIDEN: There's a reason why he's bringing up all this malarkey. He doesn't want to talk about the substantive issues. [Based on] the decisions you're making, middle-class families like I grew up in Scranton, they're in trouble.

Source: Third 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Kristen Welker , Oct 22, 2020

China should buy more American farm products

During a meeting last year, President Donald Trump turned to Chinese President Xi Jinping and asked for an important favor: China should increase its purchase of American soybeans and wheat because aiding American farmers would help him win the upcoming 2020 election, according to excerpts of a new book by Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton.

The request was made during the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. In Bolton's book, the former adviser paints the president as someone consumed with winning a second term and willing to pressure, cajole and plead with foreign powers to aid his quest.

'Trump's conversations with Xi reflected not only the incoherence in his trade policy but also the confluence in Trump's mind of his own political interests and U.S. national interests,' Bolton writes according to an excerpt published in the Wall street Journal. 'Trump commingled the personal and the national not just on trade questions but across the whole field of national security.'

Source: USA Today excerpts from "The Room Where It Happened" , Jun 17, 2020

No other president ever thought of imposing tariffs on China

I also took the strongest-ever action to confront China's illicit trade practices. You see what happened there. Our strategy worked. We have a great relationship with China now. They didn't even respect us. They were taking out $500 billion a year. We had a trade imbalance. So we started charging tariffs. They hit our farmers. I gave the farmers everything that they took out, and the money came from China because it came out of the tariffs. No other President ever thought of it.
Source: Remarks by President Trump at the 2020 CPAC Conference , Feb 29, 2020

We said "that's enough" to China & signed new trade deal

I promised that I would impose tariffs to confront China's massive theft of American jobs. We signed the new agreement with China that will defend our workers, protect our intellectual property, bring billions of dollars into our treasury, and open new markets. They could never believe what they were able to get away with without someone in our country stepping up and saying: Enough. Now, we want to rebuild our country, and that is what we are doing.
Source: 2020 State of the Union address to Congress , Feb 4, 2020

China's President Xi is both an enemy and a friend

Q [to Mayor Pete Butigieg]: President Trump tweets that the Chinese are just going to wait him out so that they can get a Democrat who they can take advantage of. How do you think about China? We've seen President Trump call President Xi both an enemy and a friend.

BUTTIGIEG: Well, the president clearly has no strategy. You know, when I first got into this race, I remember President Trump scoffed and said he'd like to see me making a deal with Xi Jinping. I'd like to see HIM making a deal with Xi Jinping! Is it just me, or was that supposed to happen in, like, April? We saw it at the G7 [international policy meeting]. The leaders of some of the greatest powers and economies of the world sitting to talk about one of the greatest challenges in the world, climate change, and there was literally an empty chair where American leadership could have been.

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

Tariffs on $250B of Chinese goods: Treasury gains billions

To build on our incredible economic success, one priority is paramount--reversing decades of calamitous trade policies.

We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries, and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end.

Therefore, we recently imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods--and now our Treasury is receiving billions of dollars a month from a country that never gave us a dime. But I don't blame China for taking advantage of us--I blame our leaders and representatives for allowing this travesty to happen. I have great respect for President Xi, and we are now working on a new trade deal with China. But it must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs.

Source: 2019 State of the Union address to United States Congress , Feb 5, 2019

China is no longer a currency manipulator

President Donald Trump said that his administration will not label China a currency manipulator, backing away from a campaign promise, even as he said the U.S. dollar was "getting too strong" and would eventually hurt the economy.

A U.S. Treasury spokesman confirmed that the Treasury Department's semi-annual report on currency practices of major trading partners, due out later this week, will not name China a currency manipulator. "They're not currency manipulators," Trump said about China. The statement is an about-face from Trump's election campaign promises to slap that label on Beijing on the first day of his administration as part of his plan to reduce Chinese imports into the United States.

The Wall Street Journal paraphrased Trump as saying that the reason he changed his mind on the currency issue was because China has not been manipulating its yuan for months and because taking the step now could jeopardize his talks with Beijing on confronting the threat from North Korea.

Source: Reuters reporting on 2020 hopefuls , Apr 12, 2017

China is dumping steel all over & killing steel companies

Q: How will your energy policy meet our energy needs, while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss?

TRUMP: Energy is under siege by the Obama administration. The EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, is killing these energy companies. And you take a look at what's happening to steel and the cost of steel and China dumping vast amounts of steel all over the United States, which essentially is killing our steelworkers and our steel companies. It's an absolute disgrace.

CLINTON: First of all, China is illegally dumping steel in the United States and Donald Trump is buying it to build his buildings, putting steelworkers and American steel plants out of business. That's something that I fought against as a senator and that I would have a trade prosecutor to make sure that we don't get taken advantage of by China on steel or anything else.

Source: Second 2016 Presidential Debate at WUSTL in St. Louis MO , Oct 9, 2016

It's not free trade with China; it's stupid trade

Sen. Ted CRUZ: Donald is right about international trade. He's right about the problems. But his solutions don't work: he proposed a 45% tariff on foreign goods. The effect of a 45% tariff would be when you go to Walmart, the prices you pay go up 45%. A tariff is a tax on you, the American people.

TRUMP: The 45% tariff is a threat. It's not a tax, it was a threat. It will be a tax if they don't behave. Take China as an example. I have many friends, great manufacturers, they want to go into China. They can't. China won't let them. We talk about free trade. It's not tree free trade; it's stupid trade. China dumps everything that they have over here. No tax, no anything. We can't get into China. The best manufacturers, when they get in, they have to pay a tremendous tax. The 45% is a threat that if they don't behave, we will tax you. It doesn't have to be 45, it could be less. But it has to be something because our country & our trade & our deals and most importantly our jobs are going to hell.??

Source: 2016 GOP primary debate in Miami , Mar 10, 2016

I've been moving clothing-making from China to U.S.

Sen. Marco RUBIO: Trump can start tonight by announcing that all the Donald Trump clothing will no longer be made in China and in Mexico, but will be made here in the United States.

Q: Will you promise that you will move your clothing collection to the US, the clothes that are made in China and Mexico?

TRUMP: I will do that. And by the way, I have been doing it more and more. But they devalue their currencies, in particular China. Mexico is doing a big number now, also. Japan is unbelievable what they're doing. They devalue their currencies, and they make it impossible for clothing-makers in this country to do clothing in this country. The Trans-Pacific Partnership--which Marco is in favor of---they don't take into concurrence the devaluation. They're devaluing their currency.

RUBIO: The answer is, he's not going to do it. And you know why? The reason why he makes it in China or Mexico is because he can make more money on it.

Source: 2016 Fox News GOP debate in Detroit Michigan , Mar 3, 2016

Chinese are savvy businesspeople: our enemy who need us

There are people who wish I wouldn't refer to China as our enemy. But that's exactly what they are. They have destroyed entire industries by utilizing low-wage workers, cost us tens of thousands of jobs, spied on our businesses, stolen our technology, and have manipulated and devalued their currency, which makes importing our goods more expensive--and sometimes, impossible.

I know from my own experience that this is a difficult problem. The Chinese are very savvy businesspeople, and they have great advantages over our manufacturers. I've had several Trump-brand products made there.

Remember: The Chinese need us as much as we need them. Maybe even more.

Source: Crippled America, by Donald Trump, p. 43-5 , Nov 3, 2015

China and Japan are beating us; I can beat China

Our country is in serious trouble. We don't have victories anymore. We used to have victories, but we don't have them. When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let's say, China in a trade deal? They kill us. I beat China all the time. All the time.

When did we beat Japan at anything? They send their cars over by the millions, and what do we do? When was the last time you saw a Chevrolet in Tokyo? It doesn't exist, folks. They beat us all the time.

When do we beat Mexico at the border? They're laughing at us, at our stupidity. And now they are beating us economically. They are not our friend, believe me. But they're killing us economically. The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems.

Source: 2015 announcement speeches of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 16, 2015

Repatriate jobs that China has been stealing

I'm sick of always reading about outsourcing. Why aren't we talking about "onshoring"? We need to bring manufacturing jobs back home where they belong. Onshoring, or "repatriation," is a way for us to take back the jobs China is stealing. We know that China's wages are increasing. Also, China lacks certain natural resources that we have in abundance. If we exploit those two key facts, we can begin making the case to companies that they should bring their manufacturing facilities home to America.

Onshoring has huge potential. That's why Congress need to pass Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf's bill called the "Bring Jobs Back to America Act" (H.R.516) to help expand the onshoring movement and get American jobs back where they belong--here in America.

Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 37-39 , Dec 5, 2011

Donald Trump on Protectionism

Trumpism means great trade deals

Many people have asked, "What is Trumpism?" A new term being used more and more. I'm hearing that term more and more. I didn't come up with it. But what it means is great deals, great trade deals. Great ones, not deals where we give away everything, our jobs, our money, like the USMCA replacement of the horrible NAFTA. NAFTA was one of the worst deals ever made, probably the worst trade deal ever made, and we ended it. A lot of people forget, we ended it.
Source: Remarks by Pres. Trump at the 2021 CPAC Conference , Feb 28, 2021

Says China is paying BIG TARIFFS, but U.S. consumers pay

The most recent round of trade talks with China ended this week with no final agreement, following Trump's decision to more than double tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. Trump said that China should "act now" to wrap up a trade deal with the U.S, warning that "far worse" terms would be offered to them in what he predicted would be his second term as president. Trump also suggested that the U.S. was "collecting" big tariffs from China: "Would be wise for them to act now, but love collecting BIG TARIFFS!" he tweeted.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow acknowledged that the Chinese do not directly pay tariffs on goods coming into the US, but instead American importers pay and oftentimes pass it on to US consumers, contradicting Pres. Trump's claims. Kudlow said that "both sides will suffer on this," but argued that China will suffer significant GDP losses as export markets are hit. The blow to US GDP won't be substantial since the economy is "in terrific shape," he said.

Source: CNBC's coverage of Trump Promises, "China Tariffs" , May 12, 2019

The Reciprocal Trade Act lets us respond to unfair tariffs

I am asking you to pass the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, so that if another country places an unfair tariff on an American product, we can charge them the exact same tariff on the same product that they sell to us.
Source: 2019 State of the Union address to United States Congress , Feb 5, 2019

FactCheck: No, tariffs won't "make America rich again"

Among the president's top 10 whoppers of 2018:TARIFFS ARE MAKING AMERICA RICH.

"When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so... We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs. MAKE AMERICA RICH AGAIN," Trump wrote in a December 2018 tweet.

Trump is misstating how tariffs work. Tariffs are a fee charged by the U.S. when a good is brought into the U.S. They're designed to make foreign made goods more expensive--thus boosting domestic producers--but that expense, charged to the importer, is typically passed down to American consumers.

Source: NBC Fact Check on 2018 Trump Promises, "10 falsehoods" , Dec 20, 2018

Country built on tariffs; they'll lead to new trade deals

@realDonaldTrump tweeted: "Our Country was built on Tariffs, and Tariffs are now leading us to great new Trade Deals - as opposed to the horrible and unfair Trade Deals that I inherited as your President. Other Countries should not be allowed to come in and steal the wealth of our great U.S.A. No longer!" 11:04 AM - Aug 15, 2018
Source: Fox News on Twitter posting from 2018 Trump Administration , Aug 15, 2018

Trade wars are good; tariffs on steel and aluminum

Trump threatened to impose the tariffs on steel and aluminum imports [last week, and this week] Trump said in a tweet that "trade wars are good." His tweet came after he announced that he intends to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports next week, when he is scheduled to formally sign the measures.

"People have no idea how badly our country has been treated by other countries," Trump said. "They've destroyed the steel industry, they've destroyed the aluminum industry, and other industries, frankly."

Trump railed against the North American Free Trade Agreement and the nation's trading partners throughout his campaign. Speaking at the shuttered Osram Sylvania factory in Manchester NH in June 2016, he said, "New Hampshire has lost 31 percent of their manufacturing jobs since NAFTA," which went into effect in 1994, when Bill Clinton was president, Trump said. He called the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1995 "another Clinton disaster."

Source: WMUR on Trump campaign promises , Mar 5, 2018

The era of economic surrender is over: reciprocal fair trade

America has finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs, and our Nation's wealth. The era of economic surrender is over. From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and to be reciprocal.

We will work to fix bad trade deals and negotiate new ones. And we will protect American workers and American intellectual property, through strong enforcement of our trade rules.

Source: 2018 State of the Union address , Jan 30, 2018

Put American firms first in federal contracts

President Trump's April 18 executive order will strengthen rules barring foreign contractors from bidding on government projects, and will direct the Department of Commerce to review federal procurement rules and trade agreements with a view to putting American firms at an advantage when it comes to winning contracts.

"This is the policy that ensures no one gets left behind in America anymore--that we protect our industry from unfair competition, favor the products produced by our fellow citizens and make certain that when jobs open those jobs are given to American workers first," the White House said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear how much the administration could accomplish without cooperation from Congress. However, industry experts said Trump's executive order was a good first step to protecting the U.S. defense industrial base, and U.S. firms that do business with the federal government.

Source: Washington Post on Trump Administration promises , Apr 17, 2017

US companies pay high tariffs abroad; let's change that

We must create a level playing field for American companies & workers. Currently, when we ship products out of America, many other countries make us pay very high tariffs and taxes--but when foreign companies ship their products into America, we charge them almost nothing.

I just met with officials and workers from a great American company, Harley-Davidson. I asked them how they are doing with international sales. They told me--without even complaining because they have been mistreated for so long that they have become used to it--that it is very hard to do business with other countries because they tax our goods at such a high rate. They said that in one case another country taxed their motorcycles at 100 percent.

They weren't even asking for change. But I am. I believe strongly in free trade but it also has to be FAIR TRADE. President Lincoln, warned that the "abandonment of the protective policy will produce want and ruin." Lincoln was right--and it is time we heeded his words.

Source: 2017 State of the Union address to Congress , Feb 28, 2017

Protection will make America strong

For many decades, we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. We've made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind. The wealth of our middle class has been redistributed across the entire world. But that is the past.

From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this moment on, it's going to be America First. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.

Source: 2017 Trump Inaugural address at presidential Inauguration , Jan 20, 2017

Two simple rules: buy American, and hire American

We will get our people off of welfare and back to work--rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor. We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American. We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world-- but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.
Source: 2017 Trump Inaugural address at presidential Inauguration , Jan 20, 2017

FactCheck: Yes, has opposed trade deals since Reagan

When accused of opposing Reagan's economic policy in 1987, Trump asserted that "I did disagree with Ronald Reagan very strongly on trade." Is it true that Trump opposed US trade deals in the past?

Yes, for as far back as we have records: in his 2015 book, in his 2011 book, and in his 2000 book. Some sample excerpts:

Source: OnTheIssues Fact-Checking on 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 9, 2016

FactCheck: No, VATs are not tariffs against US exports

Trump said, "Mexico has a VAT tax. When we sell into Mexico, there's a tax, automatic, 16 percent. When they sell into us, there's no tax." Trump has never mentioned VATs before. Yesterday an economist at UC Irvine released a report analyzing Trump's economic plan and taking aim at VAT taxes. [But that's not how VATs work].

When a company in Germany makes goods to sell at home, it has to pay the VAT. But if it makes them to sell in the US, it doesn't--the tax gets waived at the border. If a US company sells in Germany, it does have to pay the VAT. [The UC Irvine] interpretation is that] border adjustability turns the VAT into an "implicit export subsidy" for foreign companies and an "implicit tariff" on US exporters. This is just dead wrong. Everybody has to pay Germany's VAT when they're selling goods in Germany. Nobody has to pay Germany's VAT when they're selling goods outside of Germany.

You can't really blame Trump for this one: a guy with a PhD in economics fed this stuff to him.

Source: Mother Jones Fact-check on First 2016 Presidential Debate , Sep 27, 2016

Tax imports when U.S. companies manufacture abroad

Q: How do you bring back jobs [outsourced by] American manufacturers? How do you make them bring the jobs back? A: Well, the first thing you do is don't let the jobs leave. The companies are leaving. I could name, I mean, there are thousands of them. They're leaving, and they're leaving in bigger numbers than ever. And what you do is you say, fine, you want to go to Mexico or some other country, good luck. We wish you a lot of luck. But if you think you're going to make your air conditioners or your cars or your cookies or whatever you make and bring them into our country without a tax, you're wrong. And once you say you're going to have to tax them coming in, and our politicians never do this, because they have special interests and the special interests want those companies to leave, because in many cases, they own the companies. So what I'm saying is, we can stop them from leaving. We have to stop them from leaving. And that's a big, big factor.
Source: First 2016 Presidential Debate at Hofstra University , Sep 26, 2016

Identify every violation of trade agreements, and prosecute

A Trump Administration will change our failed trade policy--quickly. Here are 7 steps I would pursue right away to bring back our jobs.
  1. Withdraw the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has not yet been ratified.
  2. Appoint the toughest and smartest trade negotiators to fight on behalf of American workers.
  3. Identify every violation of trade agreements a foreign country is currently using to harm our workers. I will then use every tool under American and international law to end these abuses.
  4. Tell our NAFTA partners that I intend to immediately renegotiate the terms of that agreement to get a better deal for our workers, or submit notice under Article 2205 that America intends to withdraw from the deal.
  5. Label China a currency manipulator.
  6. Bring trade cases against China, both in this country and at the WTO, for China's unfair subsidy behavior.
  7. IUse every lawful presidential power to remedy trade disputes, including the application of tariffs.
Source: RealClearPolitics.com on 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 28, 2016

Restrict free trade to keep jobs in US

Q: You would end NAFTA, kill the Pacific Trade Agreement, impose tariffs on some products like 35% on Ford cars made in Mexico.

TRUMP: I am all for free trade, but it's got to be fair. When Ford moves their massive plants to Mexico, we get nothing. I want them to stay in Michigan.

Q: But the American Enterprise Institute says, your Trump Collection clothing line, some of it is made in Mexico and China.

TRUMP: That's true. I want it to be made here.

Q: The point is you're doing just what Ford is--you're taking advantage of a global trading market.

TRUMP: I never dispute that. I just ordered 4,000 television sets from South Korea. I don't want to order them from South Korea. I don't think anybody makes television sets in the United States anymore. I talk about it all the time. We don't make anything anymore. Now you look at Boeing. Boeing's going over to China. They're going to build a massive plant because China's demanding it in order to order airplanes from Boeing.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 Coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 18, 2015

20% tax on all imported goods

If we want jobs in America, we need to enact my 5-part tax policy: kill the death tax; lower the tax rates on capital gains & dividends; eliminate corporate taxes in order to create more American jobs; mandate a 15% tax for outsourcing jobs and a 20% tax for importing goods, and enact the 1-5-10-15 income tax plan [four brackets with a top rate of 15%].

Government needs to stop pick-pocketing your wallet. Every time it does, it slows growth and kills jobs. It's also immoral.

Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 65 , Dec 5, 2011

Embrace globalization and international markets

The important thing to consider is that more and more there is an interdependence of world economies. No one can afford to be isolationist any more. Keep your focus global. Globalization has torn down the barriers that have formerly separated the national from the international markets.
Source: Never Give Up, by Donald Trump, p.158 , Jan 18, 2008

Signed USMCA to improve trade as "NAFTA 2.0".

Trump voted YEA USMCA Implementation Act

Summary from Congressional Record and Wikipedia:Vote to amend the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and establish the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Rather than a wholly new agreement, it has been characterized as `NAFTA 2.0`; final terms were negotiated on September 30, 2018 by each country. The agreement is scheduled to come into effect on July 1, 2020.

Case for voting YES by Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL); (Dec. 19, 2019)The USMCA includes stronger protections for American workers and enforceable labor standards, as well as environmental protections. It eliminates the Trump Administration`s threat that the US could walk away entirely from the trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, which would devastate US jobs and our economy.

Case for voting NO by Jared Huffman (D-CA); (Dec. 19, 2019) Democratic negotiators did a lot to improve Donald Trump`s weak trade deal, especially in terms of labor standards and enforcement, but the final deal did not reach the high standard that I had hoped for. The NAFTA renegotiations were a once-in-a-generation opportunity to lift labor and environmental standards across the continent--to lock in serious climate commitments with two of our largest trading partners and dramatically improve labor standards and enforcement to slow the rise of outsourcing.

Legislative outcome: Bill Passed (Senate) (89-10-1) - Jan. 16, 2020; bill Passed (House) (385-41-5) - Dec. 19, 2019; signed at the G20 Summit simultaneously by President Trump, Mexican President Enrique Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Nov. 30, 2018

Source: Congressional vote 19-HR5430 on Dec 19, 2019

Other candidates on Free Trade: Donald Trump on other issues:
2024 Republican Presidential Candidates:
Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND)
Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ)
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL)
Larry Elder (R-CA;withdrew)
Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC)
Rep. Will Hurd (R-FL;withdrew)
Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR)
Perry Johnson (R-IL)
Mayor Steve Laffey (R-RI)
Former V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN;withdrew)
Vivek Ramaswamy (R-OH)
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
Secy. Corey Stapleton (R-MT)
Mayor Francis Suarez (R-FL;withdrew)
Former Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)

2024 Democratic and 3rd-party primary candidates:
Pres. Joe Biden (D-DE)
V.P.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (I-NY)
Chase Oliver (L-GA)
Rep.Dean Phillips (D-MN)
Jill Stein (Green)
Cornel West (Green Party)
Kanye West (Birthday Party)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform

External Links about Donald Trump:

Page last updated: Jan 24, 2024; copyright 1999-2022 Jesse Gordon and OnTheIssues.org