Wilbur Ross

Limiting US Steel Imports Under Section 232

If the Trump trade team implements Section 232 for steel, it may use the same tool for other products in the future (and a similar investigation for aluminum is already underway).  The Department of Commerce has been tasked to conduct the investigation, and to prepare a report for Trump within 270 days from the investigation’s initiation.  Upon the submission of the Department of Commerce’s findings and recommendations, Trump will have up to 90 days to decide if he concurs, and to take action to ‘’adjust the imports of an article and its derivatives.’’ This Talking Trade post examines the 1,598 pages of public comments received by the Commerce Department in relation to the steel case from three key groups - domestic steel producers, downstream manufacturers reliant on steel inputs, and steel producers from other countries including Brazil, Canada and China.

Salt and the Railroad: Why Trade Matters

Trade agreements, Ross should certainly understand, are also about much more than just tariff reductions.  The best deals cover a wide range of topics of critical importance to businesses and consumers.  Creating the right frameworks for trade helps trigger the local growth that communities near the rail lines in India experienced in the 1800s. A good agreement should be the catalyst for domestic level changes necessary to support better integration and sustainable growth.   Sensible policies create a mutually reinforcing cycle.  Ross has it exactly backwards.  It is precisely because the United States has been open and prepared to embrace global networks that it has become so competitive.  No one wants to build a railroad to nowhere.  Trains only work when they connect to desirable destinations for passengers and cargo.

A Looming US Trade War with China? Really?

Normally, we would not do CNBC interviews or roll out a blog post on the eve of Christmas, New Year’s celebrations and the end of the year “dead time” in the office.  But our friends in Washington DC are continuing to make trade and trade policy too interesting to ignore.  The latest is the elevation of Peter Navarro to a newly created post of trade “czar” in the White House.  Navarro started life as a fairly normal Harvard-trained economist, but has gained a reputation as an economic nationalist and a strident anti-China proponent. The terms may sound too strong.  Watch the opening 30 seconds of his video documentary in which he urges viewers to “defend America and protect your family”  by not buying Chinese products.  The film is called “Death by China:  How America Lost Its Manufacturing Base.”

Reprint: Trump's Trade Policy Revisited

This is a reprint of our September 28, 2016, post outlining Donald Trump's trade policy paper, written by Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro.  Wilbur Ross has just been named by Trump to be Commerce Secretary. Ross has not been backing away from this document.  Since his name surfaced, Ross has said the US has been following "dumb" trade policies.  He dismissed efforts to pass the TPP in the US as"a figment of people's imagination." . . . Navarro and Ross believe that the United States is already engaged in an economic war that it has lost because the US has failed to engage properly.  The Trump economic plan places blame for economic damage squarely at the feet of poorly negotiated trade deals and the failure to enforce them.  The “bad deals” include NAFTA, China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, and the US-Korea free trade agreement (KORUS).