Sunday, October 9, 2016

Trump’s Nafta Mistakes Are Huge

Thanks to free trade, the U.S. auto industry has become globally competitive again

By Mary Anastasia O’Grady of the WSJ. Excerpts: 
"U.S. automotive competitiveness is highly dependent on global free trade. According to the Mexico City-based consulting firm De la Calle, Madrazo, Mancera, 37% of the U.S.’s imported auto components came from Mexico and Canada in 2015. This sourcing from abroad is important to good-paying U.S. auto-assembly jobs. But parts also flow the other way. U.S. parts manufacturers sent 61% of their exports to Mexico and Canada in 2015.

This synergy has made the U.S. auto industry attractive for investment. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis investment in the auto sector contracted. But from 2010-14 almost $70 billion was invested in the North American automotive industry. Mr. Trump claims that investment is going to Mexico but two-thirds of it went into the U.S., according to a January 2015 report by the Michigan-based Center for Automotive Research.

This investment dynamism helped generate 264,800 new U.S. jobs in motor-vehicle production and parts between January 2010 and June 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s a 40% increase in employment despite the increasing trend toward robotics in the industry. Shut down Nafta and these workers and future job seekers will pay.

U.S. agriculture would also suffer. U.S. farm products now enter Mexico practically tariff-free and in 2013 (the latest year that data is available) it was the third-largest foreign market for U.S. farm output after China and Canada."

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