VICE 06×17 Trump’s Trade War

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– – ♪ ♪ SHANE SMITH:This week onVice:the winners and the losers
in Trump’s trade war.
TRUMP:We opened our
country to their goods,
but they put up massive barriers,and that’s not free
trade, that’s stupid trade. MICHAEL MOYNIHAN:
Do you think that his policies
– are kind of why you have a job today?
– DERRICK: I know it is. Wish I could meet him. – What would you say?
– Thank you. (VOICE BREAKING) Love you, man. ARTHUR LAFFER:Trump tells me,personally, he’s a free trader.I believe him.Now, does it scare me? (LAUGH) Yes! – He scares you?
– Oh, he scares me all the time. (THEME MUSIC PLAYING) (CROWD SHOUTING) They’re saying that, right
now, it’s time for change. (SHOUTING) President Trump campaigned on a promise to help American workers by renegotiating global trade deals. We lose a fortune on trade. The United States loses with everybody. I don’t mind trade wars when
we’re losing $58 billion a year, you wanna know the truth. – We’re losing so much.
– (APPLAUSE) He said the US was being cheated and promised that with
his bargaining skills, he could negotiate better deals.Then, in March, he followed
through on this rhetoric
by slapping tariffs on imported steeland aluminum.And now, we’re finally
taking action to correct this long overdue problem. It was the first step
in what could develop into a global trade war. NEWSWOMAN:Trump sending
shock waves through Washington
and around the world.(SPEAKING IN FRENCH) Michael Moynihan traveled the country to see how Trump’s moves
are affecting people on both sides of the tariffs. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (MACHINERY WHIRRING) (TRUCK REVERSE ALARM BEEPS) MOYNIHAN:There’s been one issuesince Donald Trump
entered the political arena that he’s been consistent on,and that’s the issue of trade.This aluminum plant
shut its doors in 2016,
and 800 people lost their jobs.But now, two years later,
they’re hiring again,
and they’re citing Donald Trump’s
trade policy as the reason why. ♪ ♪ MOYNIHAN: How many of you guys worked
here and lost your jobs in 2016? – Every one.
– Everybody? Everyone. And all of you were rehired? – Right.
– Yes, sir. So, I assume all of you support the president’s policy – with regard to aluminum tariffs?
– Yes. – Yeah? Hundred percent?
– Hundred percent. MOYNIHAN: That phrase
means something to you. Yes, sir. It wasn’t working out
too well in 2016 for us. He got elected and now it’s
working out for us, so… (MEN AGREEING) ♪ ♪ These are my biological families. But them guys out there, that’s my family, too. What was that feeling like when you walked out of
here for that last time? Lost. (CHUCKLES) Even when you’re walking out, you’re thinking, “This ain’t happening.” You know, “Ain’t no way!” The president can say… “I’m gonna bring industry
back, gonna bring jobs back, gonna bring factories back.” – Yeah.
– Did you believe him? I… I was putting all
my eggs in his basket, and I was saying, “Come on, boy. Get ‘Er done.” And… (CHUCKLES) he… he done exactly what
he said he was gonna do. You… you think that his policies are kinda why you have a job today. – I know it is!
– You know it is? Yeah! I wouldn’t have this job
if, uh, if it didn’t happen! Wish I could meet him. I’d give him a big ol’ hug, you know. What would you say? Tell him, “Keep on… keep on
doing what you’re doing, boy. “You’re doing a fine
job, President Trump. “Thank you. (VOICE BREAKING) “Love you, man. Means a lot.” – You feel the same?
– Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. He wears that hat around that
says “Make America Great Again,” and, I mean, he’s
really holding up to it. – DERRICK: Yep.
– Not only is he wearing it around, he’s doing it. MOYNIHAN:For both steel
and aluminum workers,
the tariffs are, undoubtedly, working.By raising the price of imports,the tariffs have made these
industries more competitive.
But while Trump’s policy
might save these jobs,
critics contend they’ll
kill jobs in other sectors.
I hope the president
doesn’t really do this, because if he does, it’s gonna… it’s just gonna be a huge
tax on American citizens. MOYNIHAN:And start a trade warthat would hit the wallets
of American consumers.
The cost of your
flat-screen TVs are going up. The cost of your medical
devices are going up. MOYNIHAN:The administration
fired back at its critics.
The downstream effects of steel and
aluminum tariffs are insignificant. Coca-Cola, uh, has three cents worth of aluminum in it. So, if that goes up ten percent, that’s three-tenths of a cent. NEWSMAN: Are you gonna
back down on the tariffs? No, we’re not backing down. MICHAEL:Tariff proponents accuse China,whose industries are
propped up by the state
and have significantly
lower labor costs,
of dumping cheap steel and
aluminum on the US market,
causing prices to falland forcing American
companies out of business.
One company that raised this issuewas Century Aluminum,which strenuously lobbied
the Trump administration
to tariff its foreign competitors.Since the tariffs went into effect,Century has ramped up productionand said it plans to
hire 300 new employees.
Century CEO, Mike Bless,claims that Chinese
dumping nearly destroyed
the domestic aluminum industry.The excess production that
was going on in the world, a lot of it driven from China, tipped over the market, right? And you had millions and
millions and millions of tonsthat were sitting in
warehouses all around the world
because it had no place else to go.And market participants looked at that,and said, “That’s a
recipe for disaster,”
and the aluminum price crashedby 40 percent on that basis. At one point, both ourselves and our peers had announced that we were
closing the entire industry. The industry was gonna go? Hundred percent of those smelters had been announced for closure. Eighty-five percent of
the demand in this country for primary aluminum is now imports. Do we wanna go to a hundred
percent? Is that in the interest… This is just leveling the
playing field, that’s all it is. It’s actually the ricochet effects
of this that are so troubling. Soybeans, produced around here, right? – Yep.
-We export almost… most of our soybeans to China. – Understand.
– Tariffs gonna come in on that. Look, we can’t comment on
the broader aspects of this… But you do acknowledge that
broader aspects do exist? They exist. All we can say
is that this problem was acute and finally, we have an administration willing to stand up and
do something about it. – So, your job is to save jobs in your industry.
– Absolutely. It’s above our pay grade to worry about whether there will be impacts in
some of these other industries or not. ♪ ♪ MOYNIHAN:As expected, China responded,by initially slapping tariffson $50 billion worth
of American products.
On the top of that list: soybeans.We spoke with Iowa
soybean farmer Dave Walton
as he prepared for
another planting season.
China buys soybeans grown in Iowa. So, it’s one of the largest
exports from the US to China, and it’s one of the biggest
grain imports into China. So, from their perspective, it
was a natural place to start. So, they’re retaliating… – Mm-hmm.
– … by going after your business? Correct. You know, you walk up
to the biggest guy in the bar, punch him in the nose, step
back and see how he reacts. And they’re gonna punch you back. They’re gonna say, “All right.
We’re gonna put tariffs on this.” MOYNIHAN:Beijing imported almost
$13 billion worth of soybeans
from American farmers in 2017.With China promisinga
25 percent retaliatory tariff,Walton will have to
search for new markets
for one of his staple products.What’s a good wage for somebody
running a farm like this? On an average year, you’re
probably doing… 50, 60. That’s about what we
expect to make this year. MOYNIHAN: And if those
tariffs go through? It could… could go to zero. MOYNIHAN:The Trump
administration announced tariffs
another $200 billion
worth of Chinese products.
China vowed to retaliate.
China that Trump targeted.
To the surprise of even his
own supporters in Congress,
the White House announced
potential tariffs
on America’s closest allies.The European Union is brutal to the United States. They don’t take… And
they understand that. They know it. They…
when I’m telling them, they’re smiling at me. You know, it’s like
the… the gig is up. MOYNIHAN:In response,even America’s docile northern neighborthreatened to tariff
hundreds of American goods.
It is not something we relish doing, but it is something that
we absolutely will do. Because Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around. MOYNIHAN:Because of
the retaliatory tariffs
being threatened by both Chinaand America’s allies,the list of potentially affected
American industries kept growing.
The estimates vary, but all projectionscome to the same dark conclusion:Tariffs could significantly
increase the price
of both domestic and foreign goods,and lead to significant job loss.Economist Laura Tyson was the chairof President Clinton’s
council of economic advisors.
And along with over
1,100 other economists
from both the right and left,she signed a public letter
decrying Trump’s trade policy.
So, you signed a letter along with over a
thousand other economists. Yes, I think 15, 16 Nobel laureates. TYSON:We essentially quoted the letterfrom about a thousand economists in 1930against Smoot-Hawley.Their warnings were
exactly these warnings.
“You will cause higher prices.You will encourage retaliation.”You will slow down global trade,and that will be a negative for growth,and a negative for employment.”You’ll create some possible winners, the protected, but a whole bunch of losers. TRUMP:We’re talking to China.We had a $375 billion trade deficit. That’s not good. When he banters whether
“trade” is unfair or not, he frequently just looks at the
size of the imports and says,“Oh, well, we import
a lot more from them,
than we export to them,
that must be unfair.”
– The trade deficit?
– Trade deficit, it’s unfair. And that balanced trade
is what you should have. No! Trade is, at the end of the day, mutually beneficial. We need them. They need us. The jobs that he says
we lost through trade, and that we can bring
back through protection, are jobs we actually
lost through automation.So we have a manufacturing sectorthat today, is producing
twice as much as 1984,
but with a third reduction
of the work force.
We don’t need that many people anymoreto produce that output, because we have much more
sophisticated ways of doing itthrough technology.China exploiting us or that’s unfair trade or that’s all an import from China… it just is not the case. MOYNIHAN:But Trump is wageringthat thousands of economists are wrongand that America can tariff its wayto a healthy manufacturing sector.And he singled out one
emblematically American product
that he thinks should
be made in the USA.
We’re gonna have Apple start to make their
iPhones and their computers and everything else they make, in this country, not in China. (CROWD CHEERS) MOYNIHAN:But is it even possiblefor one country to produce a cell phone?WIENS:I think people have this
feeling that there’s a factory,
there’s a building, and, you know, the, like, raw material flows
into one side of the building, and then iPhone comes
out the other side. And it just doesn’t work that way. MOYNIHAN:We visited Kyle Wiens,whose company iFixitteaches customers how to
hack their electronics
to see what it would take to
bring iPhone production to the US.
All right, so this iPhone screen, the LCD was made by Sharp in Japan. The infamous battery… I’m reasonably confident
that this was made in China. If there was one thing that
we wanted to bring home, I think it would be a
relatively easy thing to start making batteries in the US. So, a bit of advice for Donald Trump. – He likes Tesla.
– He loves coal, too! He loves coal. The headphone speaker? Same story. This is the back panel of the phone. This is made in China. There’s gonna be a little
pile of stuff in China, thus proving Donald Trump’s point
that they’re eating our lunch. The rear-facing camera
is made by Sony in Japan. A dialogue semi-conductor
part, designed in Germany. This is a bass-band amplifier and this was made by TDK in Taiwan. Getting crowded in Taiwan. The antenna’s the power of the iPhone. They’re a company out of
Massachusetts called Skyworks. But they do manufacture parts in Mexico. The A10 processor, it’s based on IP that Apple licensed from
the UK-based company. Apple’s design team
is actually in Israel. It is manufactured in Taiwan, but there is RAM inside
it that was made in Korea. It’s really, really
hard to make an iPhone. Absolutely. MOYNIHAN:But even if all
iPhone component manufacturing
was brought to the United States,the over-50 elements needed
to make those components
are sourced from around the globe.WIENS:Thinking that
tariffs are the magical tool
that is bringing the
entire supply chain,
the entire ecosystem
to the United States,
is a task that’s larger than
even Apple can accomplish. MOYNIHAN:The expansion of global tradehas helped move a billion people
out of extreme poverty since 1990.
There’s a near unanimity
amongst economists
that the benefits of trade
far outweigh the drawbacks,
and it’s an opinion held by many
of those advising President Trump.
Art Laffer is a conservative icon.The free-trading,
free-market loving economist
was one of the architects
of Reagan’s tax cuts
and is the godfather of
trickle-down economics.
The trade deficit is the most
wonderful thing in the world. It’s foreign capital coming in, which is used to employ Americans. The silliest thing I can think of is trying to get rid of
the trade deficit of the US. You talk to the president. – Why do you not explain this to him?
– I do! But why is he… He’s out banging on about the
trade deficit all the time. People listen to a message.
They make their own decision. – He’s the president and I’m not.
– But he’s wrong about it? I don’t know that to be true. Trump tells me, personally,
he’s a free trader. I believe him. I… I see
no reason to doubt that. He’s trying to get
their attention. Bang! So, we really get true free trade. I believe. Now, does it scare me? (LAUGHS) Yes! – He scares you?
– Oh, he scares me all the time. Do you tell him, “Mr.
President, this rhetoric… ” – Yes!
– “… I understand what you’re doing, but it scares me.” Yes, of course I do! What… Why not? I am terrified of a trade war. Protectionism is a killer, and it kills your industries
that are protected, and it kills your economy. Do I think we should be in a trade war and treat China like an enemy? No! I think of China as
America’s best friend. I love China! Without China, there is no Wal-Mart. And without Wal-Mart,
there is no middle-class or lower-class prosperity in America. There just plain isn’t. But do I believe he
knows what he’s doing? Yeah! He’s amazing. How is it that you are supporting
the president right now? – Rhetoric is rhetoric.
– It’s the one thing he’s been consistent on for 30 years. I may be wrong in that.
I may be misjudging him. He may want to go to war, and he may think he can win a trade war. I don’t believe he does. Your hope is that Donald Trump doesn’t believe what he says? I want to make sure you understand that to take Donald Trump literally… is, I think, a huge mistake. Do you take my view of Trump on
trade seriously in the sense that… I take it seriously! I
don’t know if agree with you. That’s fair! I don’t know
if I agree with me either! MOYNIHAN:The problem is global
leaders are taking him literally.
After the initial announcementto tariff steel and aluminum imports,the White House quickly exemptedCanada, Mexico and the EU.But in June, Trump
stunned America’s allies,
allowing those exemptions to expireand opening up multiple new
fronts in the trade war.
I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now you wouldn’t think
of the European Union, but they’re a foe. ♪ ♪ MOYNIHAN:Since January,
global tariff threats
have expanded from 18 products,worth roughly $4 billion,to a staggering 10,000 products,worth almost $400 billion,and the list keeps growing.And when Trump threatenedto add European cars to that list,the EU came to the negotiating table…So, we’re starting the negotiation right now, but we know, very much, where it’s going. MOYNIHAN:… agreeing
to a temporary ceasefire,
and further negotiations.But Trump was under increasing
political pressure at home
and from members of his own party.It’s a bad deal, all the way around. Bad for the taxpayers. Horrible for farmers. Tariffs always hurt us. MOYNIHAN:In 2016,Tennessee Senator, Bob Corker,was on Trump’s short list
to be vice president.
But Corker’s support for
his fellow Republican
wasn’t unconditional.It’s inappropriate
just to be Willy-nilly um, throwing tariffs around and changing your mind. That’s not the way you deal
with economic issues like that. MOYNIHAN:Massive amounts
of foreign-direct investment
has created more jobs in Tennesseethan in any other state.One of the largest foreign
employers in the state
is Volkswagen,whose plant in Chattanooga
created 3,000 jobs.
CORKER:When I was a Senator,one of my first calls was to Volkswagen, and we, ultimately, were
able to attract them here. That was a fairly big achievement. Oh, you have no idea. I mean, for Volkswagen to finally announce, uh, was no doubt, um… um, the most emotionally
impactful thing that’s happened. I mean, you seem slightly
emotional… emotional about it now. Yeah! And we have a president,
of your own party, who… whose policies might
impact these people’s lives. Yeah, I think there’s some 157,000 jobs, uh, potentially in Tennessee
that might be affected. – That’s a lot of jobs.
– Yeah. Why we would consider penalizing people who are helping create
American jobs is beyond me. The current polices of the
current administration… how would that impact this plant? Well…some of the parts come from Japan,some of the parts come from Europe,some of the parts come
from… from Mexico.
So the price of automobilesthat are being produced here will go up.It’ll make them less competitive. All of these things are
very price-sensitive, and that means, there
will be less demand, and what it’ll do is put
Americans out of work. – What are you proposing?
– It’s very simple. We’re saying you’ve
got to come to Congress after you negotiate the tariffs so that we can approve ’em. Because again, it’s an
abuse of his authorities. MOYNIHAN:Corker introduced
a bipartisan bill
that would give Congress
limited oversight
of Trump’s trade policy.He claims it stalled due
to White House pressure.
The United States
Senators, that are elected by the people in their state, don’t want to cast a tough vote. “We can’t vote on the Corker Amendment because we’d be
upsetting the president!” I can’t believe it! I think, intellectually, um, there would be 51 Republican Senators that would agree that
this is not coherent, um… But politically? But politically, uh, the issue is that you’ve got a very popular presidentin the Republican base,and challenging that, currently, with mid-term elections coming up, is not something many
of them want to do. MOYNIHAN:But it’s somethingpoliticians from across
the aisle are happy to do,
especially those representing
areas that will be hardest hit.
The majority of nails… that are manufactured in this country come from a company called
Mid-Continent Nail Corporation in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. MOYNIHAN:Mid-Contient Nail Corporation,an economic enginein an economically depressed community,has in the past five
years doubled in size.
But since the tariffs went into effect,they’ve laid off 60 people,with more layoffs possible.In the months since the
implementation of the tariffs, Mid-Continent has lost 70
percent of its business.And they’re using
everything in their power,
including calling on the media,and calling on their
Senator, Claire McCaskill.
And they’re hoping that can save them. MCCASKILL: Tell me about how
long you guys think you have until you’ve got to lay off more? Hopefully, we don’t have
to make any more cuts. We just need relief
as quick as possible, because every day, it’s a financial
burden on our parent company. MOYNIHAN:For years,
Mid-Continent fought
Chinese metal dumping with lawsuits.It’s now reduced to
begging the government
for an exclusion from the new tariffs.This is a three-alarm
fire for jobs in our state. A good family company
bought this facility, and there is absolutely no reason that they should be
forced to lay people off or to go out of business because of tariffs that
have been applied in a way that are gonna do more damage
than they’re gonna do good. ♪ ♪ Traditionally, the people
who take a shower after work, rather than before work,that has been the soul of our party.We lost credibility with those folks.And shame on us. Many of these people probably
have never voted for me, and maybe they never will.
That’s not why I’m here. MOYNIHAN:What do you say to
those voters in your own state?
That see President Trumpas the answer to these problems?He clearly thinks this is
a quote, unquote “winner,” and that this is winning, but it doesn’t feel like
winning to these folks. An hour from here, is an aluminum smelter, that we visited last month,
who are hiring a lot of people, and they love these tariffs,
and you represent them, too. If we save 300, 400,
500 jobs up the road and we lose five, six,
10,000 jobs in Missouri, I’m not sure that, overall,
that’s a good thing. ♪ ♪ (SKARICH SPEAKING) (SPEAKING) (SKARICH SPEAKING) MOYNIHAN:Eighty percent of this
Missouri county voted for Trump,
including every employee we spoke with.MOYNIHAN: What would happen
if your job went away? – Uh…
– What would you do? I have no idea. – You voted for him?
– I voted for him, yeah. You voted for him knowingthis kind of trade policy
might effect you, right?
I didn’t think about our raw material. MOYNIHAN:This is a terrible
policy, then, for you.
– I’m not a politician.
– You think it’s the tariffs? – I am for fair trade.
– Mm-hmm. Do I think we ought to
give the man a chance? I think so. Does it
suck? Yeah, it sucks. I just read in the paper yesterday that there was a place
up in Cape Girardeau laid off some people, because we quit buying their product. MOYNIHAN:That’s the
ripple effects of this.
So, what happens if this
entire plant closes down? Where do you go? I don’t know. MOYNIHAN:Four years ago,
Mid-Continent opened a second factory
across the road to meet growing demand,that now stands empty…housing dusty machines
and unsold product.
SKARICH:This is the paper tape plantthat we shut down two weeks ago.One little action, you know,
made by our own government,
you know, overnight, turned our business to a point to where it’s what you see today.We’re standing inside
of a shuttered plant
that two weeks ago,every machine in here
running, and now today,
you know, lights off
and nothing going on.
There is a real possibility that… the plant could shut down if these tariffs stay the way they are. Right? I mean, you can
answer that one, right? So… so is that a possibility? Of course it’s a possibility. We’re very fortunate that
the owners of this company own a large, large business that allows them to make
a long-term call on this. We don’t see the tariff
lasting, you know, forever. If we were a public company, we might have already shut it down. There’s gonna be lots of
other companies our size that are gonna have the
same kind of problem. MOYNIHAN:The economy is healthy.Unemployment is at its
lowest level since 1969.
I am thrilled to announce that… in the second quarter of this year, the United States economy grew at
the amazing rate of 4.1 percent. MOYNIHAN:But there’s
near-consensus amongst economists
that this prosperity
is under grave threat
and that President Trump,
with the stroke of a pen,
could potentially cripple
the American economy.
CORKER:It’s easy to rip stuff upand throw bombs. That takes no work at all. But I know for sure, they are
making it up as they go along. ♪ ♪ TYSON:I don’t think anybody
really quite believed
we would be at this place right now. – But we’re here.
– He basically threatens. We are such a big economy. We’re the bully. We’re the bully! “Okay, we’re the big
economy. You guys need us. It’s easy for us to win
trade wars because we’re us.” LAFFER:I feel very comfortablewith Donald Trump’s rhetoric and with what he has done so far. Now, can you get me to
agree a year from now after he causes the Great Depression? Yes, you can get me to be opposed to it. But right now, I just
don’t see that in him. Just stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you
see from these people… – the fake news.
Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!
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