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FT-feb2017 digi-1 19 Liddell was sure that the US (under Trump) would lead the world beyond the neoliberal economic model of the past 30 years with a new mix of policies that strengthen ‘national interest’ concepts in trading arrangements and in government interventions within domestic economies. Free market trade and non-intervention might have made the world richer overall, Liddell said, but they have also deepened inequality within nations and “hollowed out” the middle classes. Bombast aside, President Trump is reflecting a wide body of considered opinion on trade matters in America. The New York Times expressed that view recently: “The US in recent decades has prioritized the ideal of free trade over its own self-interest.” Third, the new Administration is fixated almost exclusively on China – the most “imbalanced” of trading relationships and perceived destination of US jobs. “We have enriched other countries while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon,” says President Trump. He means China, the nation with which the US had a $US367 billion trade deficit in 2015. Appointees to the new Administration include well-known ‘trade hawks’ on China.  Economist Peter Navarro, for instance, wrote the b o o k , ‘Death by China’ to argue that it wages economic war on others by subsidising Detectable Products – offering an extensive detectable products range - are manufactured by leading UK food safety company BS Teasdale (BST), which is exclusively represented in New Zealand by Wells Hygiene. The range includes the BST Detectapen range, which utilises an extremely detectable plastic compound known as X-DETECT 2.0. Apart from an extensive range of detectable stationery, Wells Hygiene / BST offers detectable food preparation tools, detectable PPE and first aid equipment, detectable traceability tags, an extensive range of test pieces for calibration and detectable engineering parts and extrusions. The full range is stocked at the Wells Hygiene head office and warehouse in Auckland, and can be supplied to all areas of the North and South Islands cost effectively. Wells Detectable Products are backed by its trained account managers in both islands, who can assist with site surveys and recommendations on implementation of Detectable Products in client facilities. Wells Hygiene Limited. P: 09 263 9332, E: FT242 DETECTABLE PRODUCTS… its exports and impeding its imports.  (In stunning contrast, China was self-consciously positioning itself at January’s World Economic Forum in Davos as the leading champion of global free trade). No-one relishes the prospect of trade war between China and the US, with all its associated risks of global recession, however it’s important to note that China is also changing its national priorities, with a marked slowdown occurring in economic growth there and a shift to greater domestic consumption (and less reliance on growth through the exporting of manufactured goods to the US and elsewhere). The Americans and Chinese might have more in common from 2017 onward than they have over the past 20 years! Of course New Zealand has a foot in both camps (China is our number one trading partner). It will be interesting to see if this US Administration calls the Chinese out on some practices that may not be strictly free and fair even under today’s trade rules. Just a thought. Happily, our trade balance with the US is very even with exports and imports both around $NZ5.6 billion. One final point to remember: President Trump might be an ultra-nationalist and a verbal bully towards trading partners, but he is also a popularist. If his trade and economic policies do not work – or if they start proving too unpopular with enough Americans – he will promptly change them. We can be reasonably certain that this President will watch his own political stocks just as closely as he does trends in global trade and in US jobs and incomes. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the opinions “We have enriched other countries while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon,” says President Trump.

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