Econ­o­mists: ‘Amer­ica First’ ap­proach could hurt Iowa

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s “Amer­ica first” eco­nomic na­tion­al­ism scored well with vot­ers but may not play well with in­ter­na­tional trad­ing part­ners, much to the detri­ment of Iowa, ac­cord­ing to econ­o­mists who mon­i­tor the state’s economy.

The zero sum trade game - that is, the idea that when Amer­i­can wins, there has to be a loser - that Trump seems to be ad­vo­cat­ing could hurt Iowa’s ex­ports to China as well as to its North Amer­i­can and Euro­pean trad­ing part­ners, econ­o­mists David Swen­son of Iowa State Univer­sity and the Univer­sity of Iowa and Ernie Goss of Creighton Univer­sity said Fri­day dur­ing tap­ing of an up­com­ing “Iowa Press” pro­gram. Goss com­pared Trump’s ap­proach to trade to Brexit - Bri­tain’s de­ci­sion to leave the Euro­pean Union - and sim­i­lar pop­ulism in Europe, say­ing such “uber na­tion­al­ism” is not good for the economy.

The im­pact could be “huge, huge,” Goss said, be­cause “the US de­pends heav­ily on agri­cul­ture, agri­cul­tural ex­ports, and agri­cul­ture de­pends heav­ily on trade.” Iowa is among the five states most de­pen­dent on agri­cul­tural trade, he said. Iowa ex­ports much of its agri­cul­tural com­modi­ties and man­u­fac­tured goods to China, so if Trump car­ries through on his threats to im­pose tar­iffs on Chi­nese goods, Swen­son said, it will “ei­ther in­crease the cost of buy­ing stuff from Iowa or de­crease our ac­cess to goods and ser­vices from other places.”

China has played fast and loose on trade in some cases, Goss said, but the Chi­nese are no longer ma­nip­u­lat­ing their cur­rency to gain an ad­van­tage in trade.

And while many Iowans have praised Trump’s se­lec­tion of Gov Terry Branstad as his am­bas­sador to China be­cause of his many trade mis­sions and per­sonal re­la­tion­ship with Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, the econ­o­mists warned that Branstad can’t ap­proach the post as Iowa’s trade rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

“The gov­er­nor is go­ing to have to learn to be an am­bas­sador and all that en­tails broadly with re­gard to tra­di­tional State De­part­ment ac­tiv­i­ties,” he said. “An am­bas­sador isn’t a trade rep­re­sen­ta­tive and so the role is sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent from be­ing the chief trade rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the state of Iowa or the Mid­west.

“There’s no rib­bons to cut in China, which is what Terry Branstad loves to do. He’s a pro­moter, and he’s a hand-shaker, and he likes to work out ar­range­ments with peo­ple,” Swen­son added. Iowa Public Broad­cast­ing’s edi­tion of “Iowa Press” with the econ­o­mists will air at 7:30 pm Dec 30 and noon Jan 1 on IPTV, 8.30 am Dec 31 on IPTV World and on­line at —AP

PITTSBURG: In this July 16, 2015, photo, a cus­tomer re­fu­els her car at a Costco in Pitts­burgh. US con­sumer prices rose in Novem­ber 2016 by the small­est amount in three months as the climb in en­ergy prices mod­er­ated a bit and food prices re­mained flat. — AP

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