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Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

It’s fair, but we’re more concerned with the Trump administration’s trade and policy promises.

First Daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump stirred up some controversy on Tuesday after an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity:

In case you can’t get the technology to work, Trump was on the program to tout the Trump administration’s tax reform push.

“I believe with my heart and soul, and my father does and this administration does, that no one can best the American worker. There is no group of people more innovative, more motivated, more capable,” Trump said. “But there’s got to be a level playing field and there’s not a level playing field.”

It all sounds nice, right? Here at the Alliance for American Manufacturing, we certainly agree that the American worker can compete against anybody on the planet — and if you venture to these parts often enough, you know that we use the phrase “level the playing field” pretty frequently, too.

The problem, of course, is that Ivanka Trump’s actions (and that of her father) speak louder than words.

After the interview, Trump was quickly taken to task for relying on foreign workers to make the products for her own fashion line. In fact, you might remember that earlier this year three labor activists were even detained in China after investigating the working conditions at factories that make Ivanka Trump brand goods.

And President Trump isn’t immune to criticism on this front, either. He fairly regularly is called out for touting Made in America while also making his own products overseas. In 2016, we even put together a handy list of American-made suggestions for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, since it’s stocked with mostly foreign-made stuff.

For their own personal branding purposes, we hope that the entire Trump family — we’re not forgetting about you, Eric! — finally takes our advice and begins to shift at least some of its production here. Ivanka Trump reshoring production of even just some of her shoes, for example, would signal that she’s willing to put her money where her mouth is — and be a way to publicly encourage other companies to do the same.

But frankly, we are far more concerned about the policy work Team Trump is doing to help American workers, and the administration’s ability to keep its promises.

Things aren’t going great right now.

Trump has yet to pursue many of the things he pledged to do during the campaign. The president last week declined yet again to name China a currency manipulator — despite a pledge to do so on his first day in office. Infrastructure investment remains stalled; Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao says the White House won’t even unveil a plan until after tax reform is complete.

That’s the same excuse, by the way, that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross gave about why the administration has yet to release the findings of its “Section 232” national security investigations into steel and aluminum imports, despite pledging to do so by the end of June.

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about those investigations, and with good reason: Trump’s continued inaction is making the crisis worse. Steel imports alone have jumped more than 21 percent as importers acted in anticipation of the report. Two steel mills in Pennsylvania announced layoffs in recent weeks; tens of thousands of American workers have faced layoffs since the crisis began. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats even wrote to Trump on Monday to tell him to end the delays.

So while it’s fair to criticize the president and his daughter for making their own goods overseas, we’d be far more forgiving if the administration was actually making good on its policy and trade enforcement promises to the American worker.

Seems like wrapping up those 232 investigations would be a good place to start.

A Promise That Matters

The Trump administration promised to unveil by the end of June the findings of a national security investigation into unfairly traded steel and aluminum imports. That deadline is long past — and still no action. Tell the president to finish what he started.

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