Last Tuesday, President-elect Trump announced that he had struck a deal with Indiana-based air-conditioning company Carrier to keep roughly 1,000 jobs that were previously set to go to Mexico—a deal that sends a strong signal to his Rust Belt supporters. After decades of losses to countries like China, South Korea and Mexico this was a great first step in helping to protect U.S. manufacturing jobs.
With the election now behind us, the true litmus test for Trump’s commitment will be his nomination for the U.S. trade representative—his chief advisor on trade and the gatekeeper of trade cases. And it looks like there is hope. It’s been said that former Nucor CEO Dan DiMicco—one of Trump’s current trade advisors—is being considered for the job. While Dan may not be that well known on Capitol Hill, he is a refreshing Washington outsider with an impressive business background who knows how to negotiate a deal that helps create American jobs.
In 1982, DiMicco started off as a manager for Nucor, the largest U.S. steel producer, and quickly rose through the ranks, ultimately becoming CEO in 2000. In the age of President Obama’s job killing trade policies, DiMicco has successfully kept the company afloat and created thousands of jobs in more than 20 states, including Indiana, Arkansas, and Texas. Among his many accolades, the Harvard Business Review included him in its 2010 top 100 list of The Best Performing CEOs in the World.
The next head of USTR must have strong business experience and the integrity to fight for American workers. DiMicco has both. During his time as CEO, he filed trade cases against China, South Korea, and Turkey to expand U.S. operations abroad and protect thousands of American workers. He is fully capable of putting the U.S. back on track globally, but his nomination is not a done deal. A number of other names of been floated for USTR recently, at the top of the list being former Republican Louisiana Congressman Charles Boustany. For anyone that knows Boustany’s track record on trade, the idea of him being USTR is deeply disconcerting. Trump and Boustany’s opinions on trade diverge in critical areas, which is why this news is so surprising, not to mention the fact that Boustany aggressively criticized President-elect Trump for months!
Name a trade deal that Trump dislikes, and it’s likely that Boustany has voted in favor of it. He is the co-founder of the Friends of the Trans-Pacific Partnership caucus, and as the co-chairman of the congressional U.S.-China working group, he failed to confront China’s illegal trade practices and repeatedly voted in favor of job killing trade policies that solely benefit BIG business. With him, we get more of the same –the status-quo that millions of Americans ardently voted against.
A Boustany nomination would hurt both hard working Americans and reflect poorly on Trump—who built his campaign on a promise to bring jobs back to the U.S—in the earliest stages of his presidency. Trump’s commitment to stand up to China during the campaign was unambiguous, so the USTR nomination is one of Trump’s most publicly critical posts.
In other words, all eyes are on Trump for this one. The lifeblood of U.S. workers and vulnerable industries depend on this decision. These past few weeks have been filled with leadership announcements, with mixed responses on both sides of the aisle. A few key roles are left to fill. Many are hopeful that General David Petraeus will be chosen as Secretary of State, and the USTR role is an equally critical role to fill.
Like President-elect Trump, Dan DiMicco is a man of great ability who has committed his life to negotiating deals, creating jobs, and fighting against unfair trade practices. The choice for hard working Americans who voted for President-elect Trump is clear; Dan DiMicco can be trusted to hold China accountable, fight for American jobs and negotiate winning trade deals that create jobs for American workers.
With Dan DiMicco leading USTR, hard-working Americans will know that we have a Washington outsider, job creator and dealmaker fighting for us to help Make America Great Again.