Trump’s Move Celebrated by Some, Derided by Others
President Donald Trump won the presidency in part due to a promise that trade deals would be renegotiated for the benefit of the American worker, but the latest signed deal with Mexico on sugar is leaving some skeptics sour on Trump’s vision.
The deal that was signed was primarily instituted to address the dumping of low-cost sugar from Mexico into the American markets, a move which lowers the cost of sugar in the U.S. but at the expense of sugar-refining and sugar-heavy production jobs. Many are praising the deal as being a move in the right direction in order to save sugar jobs and make production more viable in the U.S., even if prices might rise for the consumer.
Others, however, believe that the deal does little to address the fundamental issue of sugar quotas. As it stands now, the United States Department of Agriculture sets a limit on how much sugar can be imported, putting tariffs on amounts over the allotment. Some believe this is a good move that helps protect American jobs involved with sugar, but others maintain that this is crony capitalism that in fact ends up hiking the price of sugar to the point that companies find it unprofitable to do business in the U.S.
Bryan Riley of The Heritage Foundation, for instance, believes that free trade is the ultimate route towards fairness in the industry as well as the return of jobs to the U.S.
Last year, Oreo shed 600 jobs and sent them to Mexico, a move which Riley attributes to America’s protectionist policies, while also writing that Americans pay twice the average world prices for sugar.
The disagreement brings the conversation back to the long-held discussion of what is best for the U.S. worker: government programs set on benefiting U.S. producers or free trade.
Both sides have many proponents and detractors. Trump, however, has often sided with the government programs argument, believing that tariffs and other protectionist policies are a necessary and useful tool in order to help balance trade among nations.
No massive tariff reforms have yet to be put in place, but the U.S. has threatened to renegotiate free trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, and China, among others, if the deals aren’t made “fairer” in the eyes of the current White House administration.
“How U.S. Sugar Policies Just Helped America Lose 600 Jobs,” The Heritage Foundation, August 18, 2016.
“US, Mexico sign agreement ending trade dispute over sugar,” The Associated Press, July 3, 2017.