White House Economist Dodges NAFTA Withdrawal Questions

Dan Industry News Release, Trade

Kevin Hassett, Chief White House Economist, attacked the integrity of past and present government officials who have white housenegotiated U.S. trade agreements. However, he declined to say if the U.S. would be better off economically should President Trump withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The question at a White House briefing was, “Would it be a good thing for the U.S. economy” if Trump walks away from the deal, which he’s threatened to do numerous times. Hassett, chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, answered the question by referring reporters to the trade chapter of the newly-released annual economic report of the president. The report doesn’t actually discuss the costs or benefits of withdrawing from NAFTA.

A Politico report says Hassett, a former economist with the Federal Reserve Board, says he is, “surprised at how right the president has been about trade in one sense: America’s trade deals are asymmetric. The U.S. charges pretty much no tariff at all on imports, but many of our trading partners have either high tariffs or high non-tariff barriers.” He says the president is right to prioritize improving those deals.

The seventh round of the NAFTA talks start this weekend in Mexico City.

From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.