For those who were hoping President Trump’s State of the Union address last night might provide some clarity on U.S. trade policy, perhaps even a brief mention of NAFTA or Section 232, his remarks were a disappointment. The only time he mentioned “steel” was in describing “the steel in America’s spine” in overcoming the challenges of the past year.
Only two short comments—one on trade deals and another on infrastructure—had any direct relevance to the steel industry, and they are comments we’ve heard from the administration before.
Trump on trade: “America has finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that have sacrificed our prosperity and chipped away at our companies, our jobs and our wealth. Our nation has lost its wealth, but we are getting it back so fast. The era of economic surrender is totally over. From now on we expect trading relationships to be fair and, very importantly, reciprocal. We will work to fix bad trade deals and negotiate new ones—and they will be good ones. We will protect American workers and American intellectual property through strong enforcement of our trade rules.”
Trump on infrastructure: “As we rebuild our industries, it is also time to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. America is a nation of builders. We built the Empire State Building in just one year. Isn’t it a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a minor permit approved for the building of a simple road. I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast and reliable infrastructure that our economy needs, and our people deserve. I am calling on Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion dollars for the new infrastructure investment. Every federal dollar can be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit.”
Based on the president’s inspiring remarks, the State of the Union is great. The State of Steel Trade remains uncertain.
Tim TriplettRead more from Tim Triplett
Latest in Economy
ABI Index Drops in August
August’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reading from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Deltek showed a moderate decrease.
Beige Book: Economic Activity Appears Stable
The US Federal Reserve said that although overall economic activity was modest in July and August, per its latest Beige Book Report released on Sept. 6, the report was still slightly more optimistic than the previous one.
Dodge Momentum Declines in August on Tighter Lending
The Dodge Momentum Index (DMI) moved lower in August, driven by a slowdown in planning from tighter lending standards, according to the latest data from the Dodge Construction Network (DCN).
ISM PMI Shows 10 Months of Decline in Manufacturing Activity
Activity in the US manufacturing sector continues to slow, according to the latest monthly report on business from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).
Chicago Business Barometer Rises for Third Consecutive Month
The Chicago Business Barometer edged up in August. This is the third consecutive monthly increase according to the latest indicators from Market News International (MNI) and the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).