Since revealing plans to run for President, billionaire businessman Donald Trump has expressed surprising anti-globalist sentiments. For a man who’s made his fortune running luxury resorts across the globe, it is initially surprising that he would claim to oppose trade blocs, a major driver of globalization and free trade.
But perhaps Donald Trump is taking his new job seriously. The ex-businessman is now the most powerful person on the planet and that comes with certain responsibilities. The US people voted for a populist, radical alternative to the established political system and Trump is taking his new job to heart as the representative of the masses. The North American Free Trade Agreement has been generally bad for all parties involved – the United States and Canada have seen falling jobs, growing trade deficits and a dwindling manufacturing sector, while Mexico has seen rapid price acceleration and still has half of its population living below the poverty line.
One of Trump’s first acts as President – having the US leave the Trans-Pacific Partnership and effectively killing the widely-criticized trade agreement – resonated with the anti-globalist, anti-elite and populist movements that got him into the White House in the first place. One of his earliest promises was to fundamentally weaken the North American Free Trade Agreement, and as he has proved himself a man who acts on his promises this is likely to combine with growing populism and protectionism across Europe to result in a complete restructuring of Western trade in the near future.