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July 1, 2016

Scholar Debunks Trump's Trade Speech

IPI expert referenced: Merrill Matthews | In The News | Media Hit
  Morning Consult

By Asha Glover

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s trade policy speech this week was misleading on the actual state of U.S. trade, a scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation said in a Rare op-ed published on Friday.

Trump’s statement that the U.S. currently imports almost $800 billion more in goods than it exports isn’t exactly false, but there’s more to the story, Merrill Matthews wrote. The scholar cited U.S. Census Bureau data showing the 2015 trade deficit in goods was $763 billion. However, U.S. companies sell more services to other countries than those countries sell to the U.S., creating a surplus that brings the actual trade deficit down to about $500 billion.

Additionally, Matthews pointed to a fact check of Jeb Bush’s January 2015 claims that the U.S. imported almost $300 billion in crude oil in 2013. The Washington Post debunked Bush’s claims, citing data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showing that considering the impact of exports, the U.S. spends about $200 billion a year in oil imports.

Additionally, oil imports are included in the trade deficit, but Matthews said buying oil from other countries doesn’t cost American jobs because the U.S. doesn’t produce enough oil domestically.

Trump said politicians have moved jobs and wealth overseas. Matthews argued that companies create jobs in other countries, not lawmakers. Not only that, he argued, but globalization is a two-way street: Foreign companies build factories in the U.S. and hire U.S. workers.

Matthews also slammed Trump, pointing out that while some U.S. companies have off-shored jobs to other countries to save costs, Trump’s company is one of them. In March, CNN reported that his suit and tie line is made in China.

“And speaking of labor costs, neither Clinton nor Trump has put enough blame on the Obama administration policies for job losses,” Matthews wrote. “Employers must now pay for health insurance, unlike their overseas competitors. Washington has piled on costly business regulations for years, and the president wants to push wages and benefits higher, making it even more expensive to hire U.S. workers.”


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