What Will the Trade War Mean for the Economy, Especially in Michigan?

Freighter Ships

On Friday, President Donald Trump and the Chinese government exchanged fire in a burgeoning trade war.

President Trump enacted tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports. As expected, the Chinese imposed tariffs on $34 billion in U.S. exports, including cars. 

In result, companies like Herman Miller, General Motors, and Harley Davidson warned these actions might force them to restructure, raise prices for American consumers, or move their operations overseas.


The President is threatening these companies, saying they will regret taking any of these actions, and that his supporters will ultimately support him over their brand loyalty.

This debate over trade is unlike those of previous conservative administrations.

It is rare for any conservative politician to embrace protectionism in an effort to achieve economic growth. It is also rare for other conservative politicians to remain silent in the midst of policies that could jeopardize the future of the economy.

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson speaks with Shikha Dalmia, a columnist and senior analyst for the Reason Foundation, who recently wrote an article titled “Donald Trump’s Motorcycle Gang” for The Week.

On the uncertainty of President Trump’s trade policies:

This is a man who used a national security rationale to impose tariffs on Mexico and Canada. What he’s going to come up with is anyone’s guess, but that’s where the uncertainty is.”

He thinks if he can force other countries to buy more goods from the United States that will mean more manufacturing jobs,” says Dalmia.

Henderson also speaks with Jeffrey Dorfman, a professor of agricultural and applied economics at the University of Georgia.

On the similarities between President Trump’s trade policies and those of the Democratic party:

We need to remember that President Trump’s stance on trade was pretty much the Democratic party’s stance on trade,” says Dorfman. ”If a Democrat wins the White House in the next election, it is unclear that trade is the area where they will reverse Donald Trump’s policies. It’s the place they’re most likely to continue doing the same thing.”

On why trade is not supposed to be fair:

Trade is not supposed to be fair. The whole reason that trade makes us richer is that it’s unfair. The reason we have international trade is some other countries are better at doing things than we are. And if we buy things from them, then more Americans can focus on making things that we’re better at.”

Image credit: whitehouse.gov

About the Author

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.


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