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1/30/2017 4:00:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Editorial: Trump’s Course and Trucking

This Editorial appears in the Jan. 30 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

President Trump is charting a new course for the nation. We don’t know where it will ultimately lead us, but during his short tenure the business community has been served notice that things are changing.

At the White House last week, Trump met with auto executives and labor leaders, who offered optimism about working with the new administration, particularly as it relates to Trump’s promise to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States from other countries.

Trump wants to do this at the expense of overseas manufacturing. He has threatened a border tax on car parts from Mexico or Canada, which could lead to retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products. That, in turn, could harm U.S. industries such as agriculture and transportation services, which depend on international sales.

There is much at stake, and the president should realize that for every action he takes, there’s going to be a reaction.

After pulling the United States out of the Trans-­Pacific Partnership, Trump scheduled meetings with delegations from Mexico, the United Kingdom and Canada to begin forging new trade relationships. As TT went to press, Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto canceled his meeting with Trump. This as Trump remains determined to erect a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Fred Smith, CEO of FedEx Corp., said in response to the TPP reversal that trade is “an essential part of our economy” and to disengage with the rest of the world, especially China, would be like “trying to breathe without oxygen.” Next up is the North American Free Trade Agreement, of which Trump has long been critical.

American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear has said, “Trade and trucking are synonymous.” With trucks moving 70% of all surface freight in the United States, Mexico and Canada each year, Spear warns that “any attempt to reopen or threaten [Nafta] could have dire repercussions on our industry.”

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