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It Is Your Business: Don’t be Apolitical When it Comes to President Trump

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It Is Your Business: Don’t be Apolitical When it Comes to President Trump

More than nine months have passed since I outlined what incoming President Donald Trump said he would do to help small businesses and their workers. In his Contract with the American Voter, he listed seven actions he would take to protect American workers within his first 100 days in office.

Did he do what he said he would do? Just as importantly, did you want him to? Whether you agree or disagree on their importance, those actions give you something with which to judge President Trump’s performance to date.

Once you do that, you can let your voice be heard either way. (Both the Tire Industry Association and Specialty Equipment Market Association have political action committees you can support.)

Here are the first six of the seven actions President Trump promised to take, and what he did to implement them. (The seventh action does not directly apply to small businesses.)

“First, I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205.” On April 26, President Trump announced he would not cancel America’s participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) unilaterally after telephone conversations with Mexico President Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada. “It is my privilege to bring NAFTA up-to-date through renegotiation,” he said in a same-day statement posted by the Office of the Press Secretary on the website. Under “NAFTA Article 2205: Withdrawal,” any of the parties may withdraw from the agreement.

“Second, I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” President Trump officially withdrew from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and all present and future negotiations, in a memorandum signed Jan. 23. “It is the policy of my administration to represent the American people and their financial well-being in all negotiations, particularly the American worker, and to create fair and economically beneficial trade deals that serve their interests,” wrote Trump.

“Third, I will direct the Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator.” In its Semiannual Report on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies released in April, the U.S. Department of the Treasury did not name China a currency manipulator. Trump also said he would not do so, tweeting on April 16, “Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!”“Fourth, I will direct the secretary of commerce and U.S. trade representative to identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and International law to end those abuses immediately.” On April 29, President Trump signed an executive order that required the secretary of commerce, the U.S. trade representative and the secretary of state to conduct comprehensive performance reviews of any U.S. trade agreement, investment agreement, WTO rule governing any trade relation under the WTO, or trade preference program. The purpose of the reviews was to see if there were any “violations or abuses” that were in any way harming American workers or domestic manufacturers. The reviews  and appropriate remedies are to be submitted to the president by Oct. 26, 2017.

“Fifth, I will lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean oil.” President Trump signed an executive order on March 28 requiring an immediate review of existing regulations “that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources and appropriately suspend, revise, or rescind those that unduly burden the development of domestic energy resources beyond the degree necessary to protect the public interest or otherwise comply with the law.”

“Sixth, lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward.” Beginning with his Presidential Memorandum on Jan. 24, President Trump initiated the steps needed to advance the more than 1,100-mile Keystone XL Pipeline project. On March 24 he announced TransCanada Corp. would receive a presidential permit to build the pipeline, although CEO and President Russ Girling has since said there remain roadblocks to it becoming a reality. President Trump also signed a memorandum “to expedite reviews and approvals for the remaining portions of the Dakota Access Pipeline.”

Now that you are better informed about what President Trump wanted to do and what he has done about it to date, let the judging begin.    ■

If you have any questions or comments, please email me at

To read more of Bob Ulrich's editorials, click:

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