Canada Wins Big From ‘America First’ Trade And Immigration Policies

His arguments on trade, given how China has retaliated against some of our agricultural exports but definitely on immigration, where there have been a series of reports of Canada becoming more attractive to those working in tech:

The theory behind the Trump administration’s “America First” trade and immigration restrictions is that they are good for America. However, after more than two and a half years it’s become clear the country such policies are helping is Canada, not the United States.

The Trump tariffs on China have turned into a boon for Canadian farmers. China stopped buying agricultural products from U.S. farmers to retaliate for the Trump administration imposing tariffs on imports from China. According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report, “Canada’s share of total Chinese imports of wheat has rocketed above 60% in (Marketing Year) 2018/19, up from 32% in 2017/18, as U.S. wheat exports to China have plunged.”

“Losing the world’s most populous country as an export market has been a major blow to the [U.S.] agriculture industry,” reports the New York Times. “Total American agricultural exports to China were $24 billion in 2014 and fell to $9.1 billion last year, according to the American Farm Bureau.” U.S. exports of soybeans to China declined nearly 60% between 2018 and 2019, reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A new study from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) found the damage to exporters goes well beyond agriculture. “Retaliatory tariffs from foreign countries have significantly reduced U.S. exports,” according to economists David G. Tuerck, a professor of economics at Suffolk University and president of the Beacon Hill Institute, and William Burke, director of research at the Beacon Hill Institute, the authors of the NFAP report. “We estimate U.S. exports covered by retaliatory tariffs fell by $17 billion in 2018, and halfway through 2019, the loss to U.S. exports totaled $13.97 billion, for a combined total of $31 billion in lost exports.” And, they concluded, “The loss in U.S. exports will rise.”

U.S. exports of goods to China have declined 19% during the first 6 months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018, according to an analysis of U.S. trade data. Therefore, it is not surprising that companies in other countries, such as Canada, are benefiting as U.S. companies lose opportunities to sell their goods.

Although the Trump administration recently delayed implementing some tariffs and China responded by canceling tariff increases it planned on U.S. pork and soybeans, former Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce James Zimmerman in China told the Washington Post it was “not an incredibly significant” gesture. In response to a Donald Trump tweetabout China starting to buy “our agricultural products” again, Bloomberg’s Shawn Donnan noted, “Worth remembering: China bought a lot of agricultural products before this all started.”

The Trump tariffs have also harmed American consumers and inflicted high economic costs on the U.S. economy. “On an annual basis, when adding the tariffs in effect and the tariffs set to go into effect by the end of 2019, the tariffs . . . will cost the average household $2,031 per year, and will be recurring so long as the tariffs stay in effect,” write Tuerck and Burke, both research fellows at the National Foundation for American Policy.

Restrictive immigration policies, like protectionist trade policies, are also benefiting other nations, while harming the competitiveness of U.S. companies. By making it more difficult for international students to stay or work in America, the Trump administration has contributed to new international student enrollment at U.S. universities falling over 6% in the 2017/2018 academic year.

At the same time U.S. enrollment has declined, Canadian universities have attracted international students at record levels. The number of international students in Canada increased 20% in 2017 and 16% in 2018. Australia has also benefited from U.S. immigration restrictions, with Australian schools admitting many more international students, particularly from China. Australian exports to China are also up significantly, according to the Wall Street Journal.

H-1B petitions are typically the only practical way for an international student to work long-term in the United States, and denial rates on H-1Bs have increased to historic levels, according to National Foundation for American Policy research. Moreover, the Trump administration placed on its regulatory agenda a measure that would restrict or eliminate the ability of international students to work (on Optional Practical Training) following graduation, along with other policies that would make foreign students likely to think twice about choosing America as the place to launch their career.

In contrast, immigration policies in Canada have been aimed at attracting international students and retaining them after graduation. “International students who graduate from (at least) 2-year programs at Canadian colleges and universities, in any field, are eligible for 3-year open work permits,” Toronto-based immigration attorney Peter Rekai told me in an interview. “The knowledge that there is a clear ‘studies to work to permanent residence’ path has significantly increased the number of international students coming to Canada, with many choosing Canada over attending U.S. schools for this reason.”

The phrase “America First” carries negative historical connotations, most notably its association with policies of isolationism, laced with anti-Semitism, aimed at preventing the United States from fighting Nazi Germany’s attempt to conquer Europe. It also turns out, based on the results to date, America First trade and immigration policies are most likely to benefit countries other than the United States.

Source: Canada Wins Big From ‘America First’ Trade And Immigration Policies

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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