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Chamber President Sanders Calls Out Trump’s Trade Policies

Photo by Angela Carone

A portrait of former mayor Jerry Sanders, now the CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 5, 2015.

San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jerry Sanders Thursday ripped presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's trade policies, which he said would damage the area's economy.

Trump, the billionaire real estate magnate, has laid out a protectionist trade stance that is "unrealistic, counterintuitive, and would be damaging to our economy and jobs," Sanders said in a statement.

In a recent speech, Trump said he would impose tariffs on imports from China, step away from the completed, but as yet unratified Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement to get terms that benefit the U.S. "a lot" more.

If Canada and Mexico refuse to renegotiate, he'll withdraw from NAFTA, he said.

Sanders said San Diego's economy benefits from being a border and port city.

"Under NAFTA specifically, California has seen a 290 percent increase in its exports to Mexico supporting 692,240 jobs in the state," Sanders said.

"Since NAFTA's implementation, trade volume has more than tripled among its partners and enabled the North American economy to double in size," he said. "With more than 95 percent of our consumers residing outside of the U.S., it is essential that the U.S. continue to open new markets for American goods and services, while creating and sustaining jobs for American workers."

According to Sanders, San Diego exports $17.9 billion worth of goods that support more than 110,000 local jobs. Trade-related jobs pay between 13 and 18 percent more than non trade-related jobs, he said.

San Diego has been seeking to increase its international profile in recent years, taking part in Brookings Institution events involving London; adding nonstop flights to Tokyo, Frankfurt and Zurich; and strengthening ties with Mexico.

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