President Donald Trump’s pro-growth policies are putting people to work. From shipyards in Marinette to manufacturers in Wausau, anyone in Wisconsin who wants a job can get one, and anyone who has a job can look for a better one.
This is an incredible Trump turnaround from the days of high taxes and onerous regulations stifling economic growth in Wisconsin. Thanks to strong leadership, Wisconsin’s GDP growth in 2018 was the best since 2010 and the unemployment rate is 2.9%, the lowest on record for the Badger State.
What is perhaps most remarkable about Wisconsin’s current boom is the role manufacturing is playing. Remember just a few short years ago when President Barack Obama derisively asked then-candidate Trump what “magic wand” he had to bring manufacturing jobs back? Well, the Trump magic wand turned out to be old-fashioned lower taxes and smarter regulation — along with new-fangled tough trade policies aimed squarely at fairness that have posed a challenge to the conventional “free trade” status quo.
Over two years, Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry is back and better than ever. The Badger State added over 19,000 manufacturing jobs from 2017 to 2018. More broadly, in America as a whole, more American manufacturing jobs were created in 2018 than in any one of the last 20 years.
These gains notwithstanding, our work to restore and strengthen America’s manufacturing base is far from done. That’s why on Monday, as a symbol of the strong partnership between the White House and supporters of the president’s trade policies on Capitol Hill, we will be traveling as a team across the state of Wisconsin hosting listening roundtables with business, labor and government leaders. We will be visiting important facilities such as Oshkosh Defense and the Waukesha County Technical College near Milwaukee.
One topic that will surely come up will be the U.S. Reciprocal Trade Act, a bill sponsored by one of the authors of this article. Under the World Trade Organization’s “most favored nation” rules, foreign countries can levy significantly higher tariffs on U.S. goods than America levies on the same or similar products — and laugh all the way to the bank at our expense.
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This is no small problem. Across a broad sample of 132 countries the United States does not have free trade agreements with, and looking at products at the six-digit Harmonized Tariff Schedule level, U.S. exporters face higher tariffs across more than two-thirds of the product lines.
The U.S. Reciprocal Trade Act would give the president the means to end this blatant unfairness. If another country charges us higher tariffs, or imposes higher non-tariff barriers, and if that country refuses to negotiate to lower those tariffs or barriers, the president would be allowed to impose reciprocal or mirror tariffs on that country.
The U.S. Reciprocal Trade Act is just plain common sense. A recent Harvard-Harris poll indicated that over 80% of Americans support the bill, with support broadly dispersed across Republicans, independents and Democrats.
In his 2019 State of the Union address, President Trump also urged Congress to pass the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA). This is the proposed replacement for one of the worst trade deals in American history — NAFTA.
We believe the USMCA is a great deal not just for the men and women who work in our great factories, but also for all of those farmers who want to export more of their products. Once passed by Congress, the USMCA will ensure greater access to the market and lower barriers for our agricultural products in both Mexico and Canada.
Of paramount importance to the dairy farmers of Wisconsin, the USMCA will eliminate Canada’s unfair Class 6 and 7 milk pricing schemes. It will also open additional access for the full range of U.S. dairy products into Canada and impose new disciplines on Canada’s supply management system.
Our bottom line is this: President Trump’s trade and economic policies are doing well. We want to hear from you about how to do better and, with the Wisconsin economy booming, this is a great time to pass the USMCA and do even more to put American workers on a level playing field.