Interesting time to talk trade

Wisconsin International Trade Conference

President Donald Trump being sworn in on January 20, 2017 at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:08 pm

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce’s World Trade Association will host the annual Wisconsin International Trade Conference on Thursday, May 11, at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee.

Needless to say, it is a very interesting time to talk about trade. President Donald Trump has promised to shake up U.S. trade policy and business owners who rely on foreign customers are no doubt wondering how Trump’s policies will affect their companies.

President Donald Trump being sworn in on January 20, 2017 at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
President Donald Trump being sworn in on January 20, 2017 at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

One of Trump’s first actions as president was to pull the U.S. out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiated by the Obama administration.

“We’re going to stop the ridiculous trade deals that have taken everybody out of our country and taken companies out of our country, and it’s going to be reversed,” Trump told union leaders on the day he signed the executive order to pull out of the TPP, according to a New York Times report. He said that from now on, the United States would sign trade deals only with individual allies.

“I think you’re going to have a lot of companies come back to our country,” Trump said, according to the report.

But some criticized Trump’s move to dump the TPP deal.

“President Trump’s decision to formally withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a serious mistake that will have lasting consequences for America’s economy and our strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region,” Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) said in a statement. 

The TPP isn’t the only trade deal Trump doesn’t like. During the presidential campaign, he called the North American Free Trade Agreement a “disaster” for the United States. But his administration now is seeking only limited changes to the agreement known as NAFTA, the Wall Street Journal reported.

U.S. organized labor leader Richard Trumka blasted the Trump administration’s initial plan to revamp NAFTA, calling it “very timid.”

With U.S. trade policy in a state of flux, the Wisconsin International Trade Conference will provide information to help businesses deal with the rapidly changing trade landscape.

The breakfast program for the conference will include the Governor’s Export Awards, presented by Gov. Scott Walker, and a panel discussion with the award winners moderated by Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.

The morning portion of the conference will feature several breakout sessions, including:

  • Navigating the changing European business landscape;
  • Export compliance violations;
  • Roundtable discussions with trade experts.

The lunch program will feature remarks from John Murphy, senior vice president of international policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The afternoon portion of the conference also will feature several breakout sessions, including:

  • Finance and international volatility;
  • Make e-commerce work for you;
  • Roundtable discussions with trade compliance experts.

The conference will conclude with a networking reception.

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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