Trump may be interested in rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Ana Swanson has the goods:
Mr. Trump’s decision to reconsider the deal comes as the White House tries to find ways to protect the agriculture sector, which could be badly damaged by the president’s trade approach.
China’s aggressive response to Mr. Trump’s tariffs is aimed squarely at goods produced in the American heartland, a region that helped send him to the White House. A trade war with China could be particularly devastating to rural economies, especially for pig farmers and soybean and corn growers. Nearly two-thirds of United States soybean exports go to China.
There are a lot of things going on here. One, the coordination of interests between farmers and international business has been a bedrock of right-leaning parties for over a century. Indeed, the main point of contention has been that farmers have tended to prefer easy money, in the past defined as paper currency or silver. On the other hand, international businessmen have preferred the stability of gold.
Modern currency markets mean that dichotomy no longer holds though—and what’s good for, say, Apple’s stock price is by and large good for an apple farmer’s bottom line.
This means that some element of Trump’s populist base is going to pressure him to adopt globalists ways when the rubber meets the road. It’s all well and good to blame the globalists for their woes, but when it actually comes to making policy, the unintended consequences rear their head. I strongly predict we will see the same kind of turnabout when it comes to immigration if the labor market can stay hot.
At the same time, to the extent that the President is able to find facesaving ways to completely reverse himself, it’s hard not to imagine that Larry Kudlow doesn’t have a big part to play in that. My biggest hopes were that Kudlow could sweet talk the President into doing economically friendly things. If he succeeds here that will be a major win.