CNA Asia First: How the US Foreign Trade Policies will Change after the US Election
Founder and CEO of Complete Intelligence, Tony Nash joins CNA Asia First to give insights around the 2020 US Elections and how the possible turnout will affect US’s foreign policies, economy, and trade. Was the delay in stimulus affected the voters’ decisions? Can oil companies be greener without causing a lot of disruptions? And did Trump’s trade strategies yield results?
This video segment was published on November 5, 2020 and is originally from Channel News Asia’s videos on demand, which can be found at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/video-on-demand/asia-first
CNA: Now for more on the markets, the US elections, and economy including trade policy from whoever takes place in the White House going forward, Tony Nash founder and CEO at Complete Intelligence joins us from Houston, Texas.
So Tony, it’s been a very divisive election and I don’t know at this point is it worth looking back at how there was gridlock and was difficult for congress to push forward any form of stimulus leaving a lot of Americans out in the cold. I don’t know if there’s weight on the minds of voters that maybe the whole of congress was complicit in this issue. But where do you think paving the way forward for the American economy needs to start.
TN: It really depends on where in America you are. There are parts of America that just can’t wait to get out and work and there are restrictions. There are other parts of America where people want to stay in under restrictions and generally that’s the red-blue divide in the US.
What we’ve seen is more people wanting to push out demonstrations and say California and other places where people just want to get out. The stimulus issues with congress, there were a number of windows where stimulus could have come out. But it didn’t. And that was a lever that was pulled largely by the house of representatives before the election. They wanted to hold off from it. Especially business owners, very frustrated by that. People who have been laid off, very frustrated by that. Certainly, some of this has been a part of the voting consideration.
CNA: Both sides red and blue are blaming each other on why stimulus was difficult and not being pushed forward before the election. But I want to get to the issue of the backbone of some of the sectors of the economy in this election. Climate change featured very heavily. You come from an oil state. The bigger question now going forward is because of this increasing climate consciousness, can these sectors actually pivot away from oil without causing huge disruption, political and economic?
TN: That’s fine in terms of climate change. The US actually performed very well in terms of emissions and efficiency. The bigger issue for these oil companies is actually the inefficiencies of their organizations and we’ve seen a lot of oil companies come out to say that they’d be laying off 16 percent of their global workforce. They’re realizing that with oil prices where they are and gas prices where they are,
they just can’t sustain the bloated workforces that they’ve had to date.
So, yes climate change is an issue and that’s a consideration. But with the fossil fuel companies, they’ve had bloated workforces that they’re having to contend with now that oil prices are lower.
CNA: As we look back at what the Trump administration set out to achieve with its very aggressive trade policy based on the metrics of leveling or gaining leverage to negotiate better terms for trade deals, do you think it has achieved this?
TN: What the current administration has been doing is a long game. It’s not something that is a short-term plan. To get factories to move, to get capital investment, to get say supply chains to move, that’s a three to five to ten-year process and can be even longer for industries that have super heavy capital investment. It’s making progress. If you look at investments say in electronic supply chains going into Mexico, I think both the aggressive nature toward China and the USMCA have really helped.
The electronics industry come back to Mexico and to the US. Those are some of the faster moving industries where we’re starting to see some real traction. But it is a long game. It’s something that if that’s dialed back now, you won’t necessarily see that continue or you may not see that continue.
CNA: The way that the Trump administration up and NAFTA, it does seem that it antagonizes some of its closest security partners including Canada. Is that counterproductive trying to form an alliance to counter the rise of China?
TN: There are two things with the USMCA, the kind of NAFTA part two. There was an agreement among the partners that it was a much better agreement. Getting them to the negotiating table was the first hurdle. But once they realized what the US wanted to do, what I understand is all sides were very happy especially Mexico. But in terms of getting a coalition against China together, I don’t think the US has necessarily tried to do that. The US has understood that where there are multilateral organizations or multilateral relationships countering China, that China will peel off one or two or three to create division. And so the US has taken China on one on one. This was a strategy from the very beginning and it’s yielded some of the results. But again, it’s a longer term strategy that they’ve tried to undertake.