The National Association of Manufacturers (“NAM”) has launched a social media campaign to dispel trade myths perpetuated by presidential candidates Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders. Vice President of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey states “the most oft-repeated claims in the campaigns of both major parties are flat-out wrong.” In a blog posted on NAM’s website, Dempsey responds to claims made by the candidates regarding China, the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”), and trade deficits.
In response to the candidates’ focus on the US trading relationship with China, Dempsey acknowledged that more steps need to be taken to improve the US-China partnership and that there are complexities that eclipse short-sighted campaign promises. Dempsey echoed the same note trade deficits, arguing that the long-standing shortfall could be narrowed by trade agreements. Dempsey additionally raises the point that the US exports more manufactured goods to countries with which it has free-trade pacts than it imports from them.
In regards to Trump proclaiming NAFTA as “the worst economic deal in U.S. history” and Sanders also blaming NAFTA for the economic slowdown in the late 1909s, Dempsey responds that criticism behind NAFTA “is an enduring but deeply flawed myth.” Dempsey counters that the “recession in the late 1990s had a negative effect on the U.S. economy and jobs, but if anything, NAFTA helped the United States endure that downturn more successfully and has been critical to sustaining and growing the U.S. manufacturing sector that then faced even stronger challenges from Asian emerging economies.”