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Trump Trade War Will Hurt Wisconsin

February 23, 2017

There was a meaty and timely editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal this week that should be read by all who are concerned about free trade.   I fully understand there is a perception among many that trade is a boondoggle aimed at undermining the jobs and economic security of a segment of this state and nation.   But what I am not able to grasp is why the facts about trade are such alien thoughts to so many of my fellow citizens.  When I read the editorial this week I cheered for the clear-headed and robust way the words sailed across the page.  I felt that way as the facts show the folly of those who wish to undermine free trade and erect foolish barriers which will lead to a needless and dangerous trade war.

America enjoys a trade surplus with Mexico on services. And as U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, has pointed out, the U.S. has had a trade surplus in manufacturing, agriculture and services with all 20 countries it has bilateral trade agreements with. That includes Mexico, whose growing middle class wants to buy more of our products.

Both nations win when trade is done right.

Top imports into Wisconsin include clothes, shoes, bicycles and padlocks, according to Census data. Wisconsin’s top exports include aircraft and motor vehicle parts, computer and diagnostic machines, outboard engines and excavators.

In other words, we tend to produce more sophisticated stuff, so our exports provide more family-sustaining jobs here. And about 40 percent of the parts in a typical Mexican product sent to America originated in America, according to the Department of Commerce.

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