Published: August 28, 2012
BRT President John Engler handled questions on trade and the economy this morning in a panel discussion, part of the Bloomberg/2012 Tampa Host Committee Economic Development Series at the Republican National Convention. Joining Engler was Jose Abreu, director of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, and the Bloomberg interlocutors were Sanford Reback and Trish Regan.
Regan asked about political opposition to trade, which tends to increase during election years? What's the danger here for our economy if that rhetoric continues to pick up? Engler:
The risk is that we hurt ourselves in markets where 95 percent of the world’s customers live, that’s off our shores. We today are about a little less than 5 percent of the world’s population, and some of fastest growing, important markets are not here. There are a lot of products that we can make here, but trade, by trade’s nature, is two way, and it has to be.
As for Florida, Engler noted that the United States had enjoyed a trade surplus with the relevant enactment countries after enactment of the Dominican Republican-Central American Free Trade Agreement last decade.
Much of the discussion focused on China's currency policies. From Bloomberg, "Business Roundtable’s Engler Questions Romney China Trade Vow":
Engler called designation of China as a currency manipulator “very politically delicate,” given the sensitivities of the Chinese government leadership. Still, he added, “a lot of economists” have concluded that China’s currency is undervalued.
Also, Tampa Bay Business Journal, "Bloomberg panelists: International trade a ‘delicate’ issue "
Intellectual property infringements are an issue not only in Asia and in Latin America but in the United States as well, said panelist José Abreu, director of the Miami-Dade Aviation Authority.
A container full of counterfeit goods is an economic threat, said Panelist John Engler, former Republican Governor of Michigan and president of the Business Roundtable, an association of U.S. chief executive officers.
“It’s stealing,” Engler said. “We ought to be tough on that.”
Other topics: Supply chains, Brazil, the Doha Round, Russia PNTR, U.S. global tax policy (territorial system) and export controls.