After the thrill and shock of election night this Tuesday, the result left many people questioning the future of the American nation. Despite his winning rhetoric, Donald Trump has failed to shed light on his true plans for the United States economy, leaving the majority in the dark regarding his proposed policies. With his first 100 days in office being crucial to the success of his Presidency, the early days of his first term will divide opinion amongst the public and mark the first step to fulfilling his promise of making America “great again”. Described already as ‘America’s Brexit’, this controversial result shows that the electorate was charged with emotion at the ballot box, but what does this result mean for American business and international trade?
In a global economy, Trump’s insular views could jeopardise the future of America’s trade relations; one of his first orders of business would be to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a relatively new agreement signed with 12 other countries in February this year, which aimed to promote environmental protection, good governance and support job creation among other things. In contrast, Trump openly supports protectionist policies, aiming to renegotiate a number of large trade agreements, including treaties with Canada and Mexico, which sought to reduce barriers to trade. Furthermore, his call to immediately deport all undocumented immigrants could dramatically reduce the size of the labour market, potentially damaging the US economy. Although his “America First” attitude may have won him support from the voting public, will it ensure the success of American diplomatic relations, crucial for business prosperity? The short answer: probably not. Trump’s infamous plan to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico, combined with divisive tactics to force other countries (notably China) to pay extra for the honour of trading with the USA all send out a clear message: America will not negotiate with anyone.
Arguably, this could prove favourable in the long run; the American people want to make their self-interest clear and new aggressive trade strategies could provide America with the prosperous contracts they crave. Furthermore, proposed tax cuts would provide incentives for American businesses overseas to relocate back to the US, creating thousands of jobs and giving the manufacturing industry a well needed boost. Trump also supports private investment in infrastructure which could create a wealth of new job opportunities in construction and is also determined to promote an “America’s Infrastructure First” policy, allocating significant funds towards the improvement of transport networks, telecommunications and domestic infrastructure, which would improve living standards as well as improve connectivity between states and increase transport capacity for industry.
Although the media circus of this election has clearly highlighted Donald Trump’s questionable moral character, his political capital should not be underestimated. As a prominent entrepreneur and real estate tycoon, his business acumen is undeniable. Despite the fact that he had the advantage a $1 million dollar “small loan” to fund his first project, a luxury few can afford, his success has captured the imagination of the American people, who have instilled their trust in him to bring economic growth and prosperity back to the US.
By Julia Constable
(Image from inside graphics)