As the chairman and CEO of Charlotte-based Nucor Steel for more than 12 years, my job was to run a company that employed over 24,000 employees. We produced more than 25 million tons of steel a year to help build the cars, ships and trains that move our people and goods and to help build the buildings, bridges, airports, ports, and military equipment that drive our economy.
During my tenure as CEO, my biggest challenge was China’s state-run steel companies. To this day, China continues to dump millions of tons of steel into world markets well below the cost of production – and cheat America out of its jobs and factories.
Donald Trump understands the threat China poses to the U.S. economy, American workers and American companies like Nucor. Hillary Clinton simply does not.
Over the last 23 years, Bill and Hillary Clinton have had their hands in every bad trade deal this country has signed. This includes NAFTA in 1993, which has destroyed over 850,000 jobs, and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001, which has helped lead to the closing of over 50,000 American factories.
As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton engineered passage of the 2012 South Korea deal. She promised 70,000 jobs. We’ve lost 75,000 jobs and our trade deficit with South Korea has roughly doubled. Our auto and auto parts industries have been pummeled.
The Trump Trade Doctrine is sound and necessary in today’s world where poorly negotiated trade deals and trade cheating have become the norm: Enter into no trade deal unless it increases our GDP growth rate, decreases our trade deficit, and strengthens our manufacturing base.
Trump’s policy on cheating is equally clear. Any country that continues to use unfair trade practices to steal American jobs and intellectual property will face stiff, defensive tariffs. China respects strength and takes full advantage of weakness. In the end it will be in China’s best interest to stop cheating on trade.
This is not “protectionism,” as Clintonites claim. It is common sense. When Japan massively cheated in the 1980s, the free trading Ronald Reagan slapped a 100 percent tariff on Japanese semiconductors.
Hillary Clinton will claim Donald Trump’s policies will start a “trade war.” She fails to recognize we are already in one.
China’s undeclared trade war on America started the day Hillary’s husband signed the legislation that cleared the way for China’s entry into the WTO in 2001. Trump gets what Hillary doesn’t: You can’t win a trade war with appeasement – or if you refuse to acknowledge one even exists.
The American casualties of that trade war are equally clear: 70,000 factories gone. Over 20 million Americans can’t find a good job at a decent wage. Zero wage growth in 15 years. A more than two trillion dollar debt to China, which is now buying up our homes, businesses, and farmland at record rates.
It’s not just the USA that has had it with China’s mercantilist act. Europe is accelerating its trade complaints against Chinese dumping even as it is putting new restrictions on China buying European assets with its ill-gotten unfair trade gains.
The dirty little secret only Donald Trump is willing to tell the American people is this: There is no such thing as free trade today. Instead, our workers and our domestic manufacturers are at the mercy of trade negotiators that keep selling this country out for short term gain and long run disaster.
There is a very clear choice in this election, and the state of North Carolina will have a very important say as to who will sit in the Oval Office. Trump wants to get this nation back on track on trade. Clinton has had her hand in every bad trade deal now gutting our manufacturing base. The choice is up to you.
Dan DiMicco is a senior policy advisor to the Trump campaign.