US trade issues and Political Dynamics
Mr John Connelly

Mr John Connelly, President, National Fisheries Institute

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Figure 1

We need to think about things in a different way when we look at the current status of US politics. I am going to bring some thoughts that you are probably not hearing a lot about. It is important for us to understand what drives this discussion, at least in the US.

Figure 2

With referents to Charles Dickens, we can look at these two homes. The one on the left is called the Ski cottages. The house on the right is called the Trump house, with 75 banners, flags and stickers praising President Trump and his team.

Figure 3

The topic of the discussion.

Figure 4

The US is not alone in this. Surely, Trump creates a lot of news, but the US is a part of globalization just like any other country – or at least every western democracy state. For example, we know that Brexit has a lot to do with immigration, Brussel control etc. but it also has a lot to do with trade. The Five Star Movement in Italy also has to do with globalization, the yellow west movement has to do with government control. This is what most major western democracies are going through and the US is no different.

Another stipulation. The seafood industry happens to be very trade orientated. We believe in trade; we believe in export and import that have created hundreds of thousands of jobs in the US. We work on that in our legislature, in the media, in our regulatory agencies etc. That is in line with NFI policy.

Figure 5

Today, nobody wants a politician. When people go to vote, most of them want to vote for someone who is not a politician. People want someone who understands the constituency that they represent. Someone who is credible and likely to follow through on his or her promises.

Figure 6

Trump is from New York. People either like New York or they don‘t. It is sometimes said that when a New Yorker gets out of his house in the morning, that he thinks; “I´m either going to get hit in the face, or I am going to hit someone in the face!” That is their mentality, their whole business environment, how they play their sports etc. Regardless of all, Trump is following thru on his campaign commitments.

Figure 7

When we look over these promises that Trump made before the election, we don‘t have to agree or disagree with them. However, this is what he said he would do.

Figure 8

This is a chart that shows seafood products going from the US to Europe and from Europe to the US. As seen on the slide, the same does not apply to both areas with regards to seafood tariffs.

Figure 9

Within a month after Trump threatened 25% tariffs on EU autos and parts, Jean-Claude Junker (President of the European Commission from 2014 to 2019) was in the White House negotiating on tariff and non-tariffs.

Figure 10

It is important to understand that tariffs are only one part of communications between the US and China. The US is concerned with China‘s growth and the regional hegemony in the China sea, overlapping several important trade routes. The authoritarian capitalism of China is a direct threat to the US interest in democracy, human rights, rule of law etc.

Figure 11

These are the leaders of China in the last 100 years.

Figure 12

All of these three men are Chinese leaders for life.

Figure 13

Generally, people like trade. But when you ask closer you get different views.

Figure 14

A total of 35% of Trump voters say that trade creates jobs, 65% say that it takes away jobs. Again we have to keep in mind that people are looking for a leader who follows through on his commitments and is credible in the process of doing so.

Figure 15

The size of the boxes on this slide represents the wealth of each county in the US. You will notice that all the large counties, the well off counties, are Clinton supporters. All the smaller counties, the less well off, are Trump voters. One might estimate that Trump voters are mainly poor and less educated – and that they don‘t know what they are doing. Generally, that is the thought on the East coast (the media) and on the West coast (the entertainment world). But there is a lot of people in the middle who don‘t like to be referred in that way.

Figure 16

Maybe we have to look at this in a different way, in order to try to understand the 63 million people who voted for Trump. Neither of these people is wearing sheets, neither of them is burning down buildings, neither of these people is fascists. They are only expressing a view of their concern.

Figure 17

Coming back to the houses. My father-in-law owns the house on the left (my smaller house is next to his). Every weekend I pass the house on the right to get to the house on the left. Those that live on the right feel those on the left pass them buy economically and socially. They feel President Trump gives them a voice.

Figure 18