Jerry Sanders, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, said Thursday that trade policies proposed by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would be “damaging to our economy and jobs.”
The statement, which called Trump’s jobs plan “unrealistic” and “counterintuitive,” was released by the business-advocacy organization in the wake of remarks made by the GOP candidate during a campaign stop in western Pennsylvania earlier this week.
In a speech Tuesday, Trump slammed globalism and threatened to pull the United States out of the North American Free Trade Agreement were he to become president. Trump said he believes trade deals have hurt the American economy, put the nation’s manufacturers out of work and ballooned the U.S. trade deficit.
Sanders, in the statement released Thursday, disagreed with that assessment; San Diego’s economy has benefitted from the free-trade agreement, he said.
“As a port and border city, San Diego exports $17.9 billion worth of goods, which support more than 110,000 jobs in San Diego,” he said. “These trade-related jobs are also higher paying at 13 percent and 18 percent more than nontrade-related jobs.”
California’s exports to Mexico have increased 290 percent under the trade pact, supporting 692,240 jobs statewide, Sanders said.
“Since NAFTA’s implementation, trade volume has more than tripled among its partners and enabled the North American economy to double in size,” Sanders said. “With more than 95 percent of our consumers residing outside of the U.S., it is essential that the U.S. continue to open new markets for American goods and services, while creating and sustaining jobs for American workers. This is how we remain competitive and create jobs in a globalizing economy.”
Sanders’ remarks echoed those made this week by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which criticized Trump’s protectionist proposals. The U.S. Chamber, typically a staunch backer of GOP politicians, is in favor of the trade deals Trump has promised to rip up. The National Association of Manufacturers also opposes Trump’s plan.
The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 2,500 businesses countywide, is the largest local chamber on the West Coast. The organization is an accredited member of the U.S. Chamber.