What will a new US president mean for Aussie exporters?

What will a new US president mean for Aussie exporters? article image

With both US presidential candidates claiming they will not go ahead with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other attendant trade negotiations, what will this mean for Australia?

It is reasonable to expect at the very least Australian Government activities in this area will be more restrained or indefinitely put on hold.

In the event of a Donald Trump Presidency it is quite possible existing trade deals will be renegotiated so as to be less unfavourable to American workers.

And any new trade deals going forward are likely to be much less enthusiastic in exporting American jobs to low wage economies.

As Hilary Clinton is a product of the machine and the machine supports the current globalisation script it is far more likely that, any current denials notwithstanding, a Clinton Presidency will return by various means of stealth to a rebranded or renamed version of the TPP and other trade agreements involving continued export of American jobs.

Mr Trump has a set of policy positions that enjoy widespread support among much of the electorate.

Globalisation that involved exporting American jobs to low wage jurisdictions would be handily beaten at the polls. Illegal immigrants and large unsustainable immigration would likewise be rejected by voters and by a big margin.

US defence spending

Political correctness and the endless social engineering propaganda in support of it would be lucky if it gathered even 10% of voters in support. Assumed doctoring of Government statistics such as unemployment and inflation particularly antagonise middle class voters.

American allies being asked to pay a bigger share of any US defence spending they benefit from is hardly unreasonable.

If any of these positions were put to a referenda or plebiscite in support of say exporting American jobs it seems they would be defeated by decidedly handsome majorities.

Mr Trump has without doubt achieved many things in a highly successful business career. He has had to make his money rather than have it gifted through a party patronage system.

His successes are certainly more than those whose only credentials are reading focus group tested slogans from a teleprompter.

The Washington DC system may not know what to do if a candidate is not a political machine creature. Even so, the fuss about who wins the Presidential election may be somewhat overblown and an overreaction.

Firstly, how much power do US Presidents really have? What are the limits of what they can do?

The outgoing presidential incumbent famously commented that when Dwight Eisenhower  became President he thought he could issue orders “Do this/Do that” and have them followed.

The reality was quite different as a US President must work through the elected representatives of the House and the Senate and laws are constantly tested in the courts along constitutional and more recently, ideological social equity lines. 

Horse trading is inevitable

Public service inertia and endless lawmaker committees can also limit what President can reasonably do in terms of time and practical outcomes. Horse trading is inevitable and has the effect of restricting outcomes to a fairly narrow range of probabilities.

Even the Presidential veto only has relevance if the congress is passing proposed legislation with a narrow margin. A solid majority can override a presidential veto.

Other than being the notional head of Government, titular commander in chief and the public face of the United States, Presidents don’t really have a vast amount of legislative/administrative power at their disposal. Only Congress can make laws.

Due to media power and the one person focus Presidents can shape or influence national debates and frame the important questions and public attitudes of the day.

The possibility of Mr Trump becoming President seems to terrify the commissars of the media commentariat and cosy self-serving political establishment.

No cause for alarm

It is hard to find Trump campaign policies that appear to be, in of themselves, suggestive of any cause for alarm at least not for the majority of voters.

By set piece entrapment gambits Trump is constantly apologising to this or that “offended” minority group. This gives the appearance of unsuitability – in the converse of Mrs Clinton.  

Perhaps the biggest “frightener” for the establishment and sundry hangers on is the fact that Trump for the most part is his own man.

His successes are his own, his being within reach of the Presidency is due to his own media power, the force of his colourful personality and larger than life presence.

For a man who speaks his mind – and often without tele-prompters and departmental interview coaching – Mr Trump actually makes very few mistakes.

He doesn’t owe anybody, as his own man he can make decisions and make statements that an establishment figure, who is owned by the machine, could never dream of doing.

Trump is his own man

Moreover, as the machine power brokers and hangers on expect favours, gifts and handouts as payment for services real or imagined when their candidate takes the big job … Trump as his own man is indebted to nowhere near as many of the rent seeking influence peddler class as a machine stooge might be.

Importantly, how can you manipulate and control a man who doesn’t owe you anything?

It sure must scare the boys downtown.

In any final wash up it may not mean much changes at all for Australia or Australian exporters should a Trump Presidency eventuate.

The changes that may occur are likely to represent a greater role for intrinsic value of assets rather than forced market distortions that currently predominate in this present phase of globalisation. This may not be a bad thing for a globalisation script that many believe needs a reset. 

Yet the biggest inadvertent winner of Mr Trump gaining a majority at the presidential elections may be democracy itself and the will of the people.

David Gray is lead consultant at Biztechwrite providers of Geopolitical studies, white papers, export advisory notes, language translations and export business plans. David can be contacted at


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