In August, entrepreneur and author Michael Dunne published a piece in Forbes with the headline, “Trump Is Right about One Thing: Auto Trade with Asia Is Rigged, And U.S. Looks like a Dupe.” In it, he writes that America’s automotive trade policies are, “out of whack” and that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would in no way improve matters.
As a second-generation auto dealer selling Hondas and Toyotas in Southern California, the article caught my eye. Dunne is not the first to suggest that U.S. auto trade with Asian nations is unbalanced, but with a presidential election around the corner and TPP hanging in the balance, I felt his views call for a response.
If you haven’t felt overwhelmed by politics this summer, then you must be either a talking head on cable television or running for office. We are overcome with wall-to-wall convention coverage, hourly polling updates, and breathless reporting of campaign minutiae, and it’s only August. On the plus side, we’re about to be inundated with something much more exciting on our television screens: the Olympics.
On Tuesday, I watched live as Donald Trump, presumptive Republican nominee for president, gave a fiery speech laying out his trade agenda. He spoke at an aluminum plant in Western Pennsylvania, where his colorful take on the international marketplace (“NAFTA was the worst trade deal in history”) was well-received.
Earlier in May, dealers, ATAEs, and manufacturers from around the country gathered in Washington, D.C., for AIADA’s 10th Annual International Auto Industry Summit. Attendees were treated to an all-star lineup of speakers including Gen. Stan McChrystal, political analyst Stu Rothenberg, and chairman of the powerful House Financial Services Committee Rep. Jeb Hensarling.
Last week, I had the privilege of addressing AIADA’s dealer members in Las Vegas during our 46th Annual Meeting and Luncheon. While I took over the Chairman’s post from 2015 Chairman Bradley Hoffman this past February, AIADA’s meeting was my first opportunity to address all of you and share my vision for the year ahead.
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