WUOMFM

Michigan economist on trade reform: “Approach it with a scalpel, not a meat ax”

Nov 21, 2016

As President-elect Trump and his team prepare for inauguration in two months, Michigan is preparing for President-elect Trump.

And Trump has outlined a number of things he'd like to do with regard to trade in his first 100 days in office.

Michigan State University economist Charles Ballard joined Stateside to help sort out how some of the policies Trump has proposed might affect Michigan's economy.

One of those proposed policies is a renegotiation of NAFTA, which, Ballard said, could have major implications for Michigan. 

While he described Mexico as a “footnote” for Michigan when it comes to trade, he called Canada “the big player.” And he suggested that any policy that seriously reduces U.S. trade with Canada — such as renegotiating NAFTA — would likely be bad for Michigan.

“We are perfectly positioned right next to the industrial heartland of our biggest trading partner,” he explained.  “The crossings in Detroit and Windsor are the most heavily-traveled border crossings along the biggest trading partnership in the world. I want to enhance that.”

Additionally, he doesn’t believe that renegotiating or leaving NAFTA would necessarily bring back high-paying manufacturing jobs, such as those in the auto industry. Instead, he said  a lot of those jobs have been lost due to changes in technology, such as advanced manufacturing robots and computer-driven assembly.

“The number of workers it takes to make a car or any other manufactured item is much smaller than it used to be,” he said.

Listen to the full interview above.

(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or with this RSS link)