While on the campaign trail, president-elect Donald Trump made jobs and trade some of his biggest policy issues. Sure, he lacked concrete plans, but he regularly attacked NAFTA and said that countries, including Mexico and China, had been taking advantage of the United States, playing us for our own economic gain all in the name of free trade. Trump said we needed better deals, and now he's appointed a Commerce secretary that agrees with him. Meet the billionaire investor that got his start buying bankrupt steel mills. These seven Wilbur Ross economic quotes show what he and Trump have in common.
Ideologically — if you can claim Trump actually has one ideology — they have quite a few similarities. But there is one main difference where Ross might have some troubles. Blaming all our problems on China like Trump did might be hard for the guy. Ross is actually a big fan of China and its culture.
"I think the China-bashing is wildly overdone in this country,” Ross said back in 2012 during a CNBC interview. “The reality is that if something were to happen that cost China jobs, like if they upwardly revalued the currency a lot, those jobs aren’t going to come back to the U.S., they would go to Vietnam, they would go to Thailand, they would go to whatever country was the lowest cost, so it’s a fiction on both sides that those jobs will come back.”
That sounds like rational economic thinking, something that has been missing from the conversation since Hillary Clinton conceded to Trump back in November. But we're not looking at a status quo appointment. These seven quotes from Ross on the world economy and trade show that in many ways he and Trump have similar views.
1Those Darn Auto Companies
Just as Trump has attacked auto companies' decisions to move jobs from the U.S. to other, cheaper countries, Ross has criticized the practice — especially since officially joining the Trump campaign. Ross co-authored a white paper with economist Peter Navarro and touched on the topic:
2And The Currency Manipulators, Too
Ross is also now towing the line on China, at least regarding currency. He and Navarro, in the same paper, argue that trade imbalances only happen (we buy more from China than they buy from us) because their currency isn't open to market forces:
3Strike When It's Hot (At Others' Expense)
Trump, back in 2006, talked about how he hoped the housing market would crash because then he could get rich quickly by buying when prices were low. That's the same thought process Ross had for a banking system in Cyprus, which he owns a good chuck of. He suggested they try to benefit from Brexit:
4Be Tough, Big, And Yuge
Ross is sold on the idea of playing rough when it comes to renegotiating trade deals:
5Not A Fan Of Trade Deals Like NAFTA, Either
Back to the theory that America has made bad deals, Ross specifically criticized the types that have gained steam in recent years like the TPP:
6Tell Them What They Want To Hear
7No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
Ross summed it up in simple lingo for Fox Business back in August:
Maybe Trump's team will be able to negotiate other versions of the agreements, but if not, the economic underpinnings that U.S. manufacturing and commerce rely on will be up in the air — and that's something business doesn't respond well to.