President Trump Promised New, Better Trade Deals. Has He Delivered?

President Trump has made good on his pledges to rework America's trade agreements — but it's not clear how successful his new policies have been.
Posted at 12:52 AM, Feb 04, 2020

President Trump came into office promising to reshape U.S. trade policy — and over the past three years, his administration's done just that. So how have the president's new trade policies been doing? Well, it's hard to say just yet.

The White House's most recent trade victory, the signing of a renegotiated NAFTA deal, still needs to be ratified by Canada before it goes into effect. The new USMCA deal is likely to have only a modest impact: one report suggested it would add 0.35 percent growth to U.S. GDP once it's fully enacted.

Similarly, the president's "phase one" trade deal with China relies on purchasing commitments that the country won't have to fulfill until 2021. Whether China can follow through on those commitments will determine how good that "phase one" deal is for the U.S.

The overall balance of trade hasn't changed much during Trump's term. The U.S. is still importing more than it exports — a deficit of around $780 billion worth of stuff last year, close to where it was before President Trump took office.

Trump's tariffs have nearly doubled the amount of federal revenue earned through import taxes — though it's still not a major source of income for the government. Most of those new tariffs are being paid by U.S. companies importing goods from China: over half of imports from the country have been hit with additional taxes, which are still in place despite the "phase one" deal.