Trade Wars: Grow up, America!

Wouldn’t it be nice if our president schooled more and tweeted less?

Whatever, since Texas’ exposure to trade seems to be among the greatest of all states, it’s time to make sense of this trade war fuss. Let’s start with what we know to be true:

  1. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems, or as good as it seems.
  2. Trade wars are easy to start, not easy to win. (School up on the Howard Taft experiment — didn’t turn out so good.)
  3. Besides, there are no winners anyway, only varied degrees of losing.
  4. If nobody gets the best of anybody, you may have a win, provided one side doesn’t manipulate their currency to make up for lost ground.
  5. In the end it’s all in the agreements. You came away with what you wanted without skinning the other side? That’s all that matters.

So, seriously, wait until the agreements come out, then judge.

No, I don’t like any more than you that our president picks so many fights on so many fronts all at once, but Americans will have to get comfortable being uncomfortable to score gains. The deal the U. S. struck with Mexico to restore NAFTA was a critical reset for Mexican-American relations. A huge gain for two trading partners who have too much in common and too much to lose had discussions faltered.

That Canada dissed us could be as much of a problem for America as Canada. NAFTA went on without them, but it’d be nice knowing where that $4.7B in lost trade is going to come from. Maybe give $4.7B we don’t have to the farmers because the White House didn’t think things through before squeezing the trigger?

And the China story. So way overblown, distorted. The more you check into the structure of the Chinese economy, the more you’ll see this trade war is more China’s problem than ours. The simple fact is, if your economy rests 100% on exports, you have a terrible hand. Everything goes out of China, nothing goes in. Especially investment dollars: they go everywhere in the world but China. Even China won’t invest in China. But they will invest in foreign soil, like poaching on the Spratly Islands as if theirs. They’re not.

SO: get comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s time America grew up and looked past China as a trading partner. Seriously, there’s better opportunities; we’ve just been too complacent, too chicken to tap them. Remember, China’s agenda, thousands of years old, remains incorrigible and 100% transparent: world domination. Seriously, America, we’ve been bullied enough. Move on.

Here in the states, Texas, Michigan and Illinois are among the largest contributors to trade nationwide. No surprise: they have some of the largest ports. But being power traders also makes them more vulnerable than other states to trade war damages. There’s one group of Heatley Capital investors with more than a casual interest in how NAFTA talks went with Mexico. There’s this 1340-acre asset just north of a just-built commercial border crossing near El Paso, that they invested in 10 years ago. It’s future rides on making nice with Mexico. We did, so score one fat victory for the Tornillo/I-10, LLC partnership. Let the goods roll!