For more than 70 years, the United States has supported multilateral trade liberalisation, complemented by free trade initiatives at the regional and bilateral levels. But, President Donald Trump has thrown traditional US trade policy into a state of turbulence. During his election campaign he threatened to pull the country out of the World Trade Organization; in office he has taken steps to withdraw the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and warned that NAFTA will be renegotiated in line with US requirements or be similarly subject to withdrawal.
The new trade policy does not necessarily preclude further trade liberalisation, however. For example, new bilateral trade accords could be agreed and WTO agreements might be advanced in areas such as intellectual-property rights. President Trump has supported the idea of a US bilateral accord with the UK, for instance, and has spoken of the need to improve protection of US trade secrets, an area where progress might be had via the WTO.
Mr Trump’s motivation for trade policy reform is anchored in the perceived negative impacts of globalisation for the US economy and its workers. He thinks trade arrangements are often unfair or outdated, and are abused by some countries; existing trade agreements are regarded as failing to deliver appropriate economic opportunity for America.
His supporters point to allegedly unfair competition from China; US manufacturers outsourcing production (especially to Mexico); the persistent US trade deficit; countries that tax imports while exempting exporters; and currency manipulation.
In particular, some blame the loss of jobs in US manufacturing on the NAFTA agreement with Canada and Mexico, the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement, and China’s accession to the WTO.
But while the US had not had a current-account balance-of-payments surplus since 1991, many economists say this imbalance is driven by macro-economic factors, including the low US savings rate, rather than trade. It is thus not readily addressed by protectionist measures.
US household consumption is above par for a high-income country but its investment remains about average, requiring strong inflows of capital from abroad. And while export growth has been strong, imports have grown even faster.
US manufacturing output is nevertheless reaching new highs and remains robust, while US manufacturing employment is weak, down 29 per cent in 20 years. But this largely reflects improved productivity and technological change – not competition from imports. Import competition accounts for a quarter or less of the job losses.
Indeed, while Germany runs a substantial current-account surplus, its manufacturing employment has declined as a share of its economy too. And despite the US current-account deficit shrinking between 2006 and 2009, manufacturing employment continued falling. While US manufacturing output has risen to new highs, services have done even better as the economy’s composition shifts from one sector to the other. Thus, a process of structural adjustment has been underway.
The US is not alone in seeking protectionist measures though. Since the great recession, G20 countries have implemented 14 to 21 new measures a month, taking the total to 5,436 by January 2017 and affecting perhaps more than 5 per cent of global trade.
These measures already raise the costs, sometimes impeding trade entirely for certain products along specific corridors. Yet tougher US measures could provoke further protectionist actions in retaliation, weighing even more heavily on economic growth.
Protectionism is not the answer to the stress in the US labour market. Rather, policies to address distributional challenges and support adjustment are needed – for example, infrastructure investment, effective education and training, and an appropriate social safety net.
Disclosure and disclaimerMore, collapsed
The following analyst(s), economist(s), and/or strategist(s) who is(are) primarily responsible for this report, certifies(y) that the opinion(s) on the subject security(ies) or issuer(s) and/or any other views or forecasts expressed herein accurately reflect their personal view(s) and that no part of their compensation was, is or will be directly or indirectly related to the specific recommendation(s) or views contained in this research report: Doug Lippoldt
This document has been prepared and is being distributed by the Research Department of HSBC and is not for publication to other persons, whether through the press or by other means.
This document is for information purposes only and it should not be regarded as an offer to sell or as a solicitation of an offer to buy the securities or other investment products mentioned in it and/or to participate in any trading strategy. Advice in this document is general and should not be construed as personal advice, given it has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular investor. Accordingly, investors should, before acting on the advice, consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to their objectives, financial situation and needs. If necessary, seek professional investment and tax advice.
Certain investment products mentioned in this document may not be eligible for sale in some states or countries, and they may not be suitable for all types of investors. Investors should consult with their HSBC representative regarding the suitability of the investment products mentioned in this document and take into account their specific investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs before making a commitment to purchase investment products.
The value of and the income produced by the investment products mentioned in this document may fluctuate, so that an investor may get back less than originally invested. Certain high-volatility investments can be subject to sudden and large falls in value that could equal or exceed the amount invested. Value and income from investment products may be adversely affected by exchange rates, interest rates, or other factors. Past performance of a particular investment product is not indicative of future results.
HSBC and its affiliates will from time to time sell to and buy from customers the securities/instruments, both equity and debt (including derivatives) of companies covered in HSBC Research on a principal or agency basis.
Analysts, economists, and strategists are paid in part by reference to the profitability of HSBC which includes investment banking, sales & trading, and principal trading revenues.
Whether, or in what time frame, an update of this analysis will be published is not determined in advance.
For disclosures in respect of any company mentioned in this report, please see the most recently published report on that company available at www.hsbcnet.com/research. In order to find out more about the proprietary models used to produce this report, please contact the authoring analyst.
- This report is dated as at 20 January 2017.
- All market data included in this report are dated as at close 19 January 2017, unless a different date and/or a specific time of day is indicated in the report.
- HSBC has procedures in place to identify and manage any potential conflicts of interest that arise in connection with its Research business. HSBC's analysts and its other staff who are involved in the preparation and dissemination of Research operate and have a management reporting line independent of HSBC's Investment Banking business. Information Barrier procedures are in place between the Investment Banking, Principal Trading, and Research businesses to ensure that any confidential and/or price sensitive information is handled in an appropriate manner.
- You are not permitted to use, for reference, any data in this document for the purpose of (i) determining the interest payable, or other sums due, under loan agreements or under other financial contracts or instruments, (ii) determining the price at which a financial instrument may be bought or sold or traded or redeemed, or the value of a financial instrument, and/or (iii) measuring the performance of a financial instrument.
Legal entities as at 1 July 2016
‘UAE’ HSBC Bank Middle East Limited, Dubai; ‘HK’ The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Hong Kong; ‘TW’ HSBC Securities (Taiwan) Corporation Limited; 'CA' HSBC Bank Canada, Toronto; HSBC Bank, Paris Branch; HSBC France; ‘DE’ HSBC Trinkaus & Burkhardt AG, Düsseldorf; 000 HSBC Bank (RR), Moscow; ‘IN’HSBC Securities and Capital Markets (India) Private Limited, Mumbai; ‘JP’ HSBC Securities (Japan) Limited, Tokyo; ‘EG’ HSBC Securities Egypt SAE, Cairo; ‘CN’ HSBC Investment Bank Asia Limited, Beijing Representative Office; The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Singapore Branch; The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Seoul Securities Branch; The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Seoul Branch; HSBC Securities (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, Johannesburg; HSBC Bank plc, London, Madrid, Milan, Stockholm, Tel Aviv; ‘US’ HSBC Securities (USA) Inc, New York; HSBC Yatirim Menkul Degerler AS, Istanbul; HSBC México, SA, Institución de Banca Múltiple, Grupo Financiero HSBC; HSBC Bank Australia Limited; HSBC Bank Argentina SA; HSBC Saudi Arabia Limited; The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, New Zealand Branch incorporated in Hong Kong SAR; The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Bangkok Branch
Issuer of report
HSBC Bank plc
8 Canada Square, London
E14 5HQ, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 20 7991 8888
Fax: +44 20 7992 4880
This document is issued and approved in the United Kingdom by HSBC Bank plc for the information of its Clients (as defined in the Rules of FCA) and those of its affiliates only. If this research is received by a customer of an affiliate of HSBC, its provision to the recipient is subject to the terms of business in place between the recipient and such affiliate. In Australia, this publication has been distributed by The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (ABN 65 117 925 970, AFSL 301737) for the general information of its “wholesale” customers (as defined in the Corporations Act 2001). Where distributed to retail customers, this research is distributed by HSBC Bank Australia Limited (AFSL No. 232595). These respective entities make no representations that the products or services mentioned in this document are available to persons in Australia or are necessarily suitable for any particular person or appropriate in accordance with local law. No consideration has been given to the particular investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any recipient.
The document is distributed in Hong Kong by The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited and in Japan by HSBC Securities (Japan) Limited. Each of the companies listed above (the “Participating Companies”) is a member of the HSBC Group of Companies, any member of which may trade for its own account as Principal, may have underwritten an issue within the last 36 months or, together with its Directors, officers and employees, may have a long or short position in securities or instruments or in any related instrument mentioned in the document.
Brokerage or fees may be earned by the Participating Companies or persons associated with them in respect of any business transacted by them in all or any of the securities or instruments referred to in this document. In Korea, this publication is distributed by either The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Seoul Securities Branch ("HBAP SLS") or The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Seoul Branch ("HBAP SEL") for the general information of professional investors specified in Article 9 of the Financial Investment Services and Capital Markets Act (“FSCMA”). This publication is not a prospectus as defined in the FSCMA. It may not be further distributed in whole or in part for any purpose. Both HBAP SLS and HBAP SEL are regulated by the Financial Services Commission and the Financial Supervisory Service of Korea. This publication is distributed in New Zealand by The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, New Zealand Branch incorporated in Hong Kong SAR.
The information in this document is derived from sources the Participating Companies believe to be reliable but which have not been independently verified. The Participating Companies make no guarantee of its accuracy and completeness and are not responsible for errors of transmission of factual or analytical data, nor shall the Participating Companies be liable for damages arising out of any person’s reliance upon this information. All charts and graphs are from publicly available sources or proprietary data. The opinions in this document constitute the present judgement of the Participating Companies, which is subject to change without notice. From time to time research analysts conduct site visits of covered issuers. HSBC policies prohibit research analysts from accepting payment or reimbursement for travel expenses from the issuer for such visits.
This document is neither an offer to sell, purchase or subscribe for any investment nor a solicitation of such an offer. HSBC Securities (USA) Inc. accepts responsibility for the content of this research report prepared by its non-US foreign affiliate. All US persons receiving and/or accessing this report and intending to effect transactions in any security discussed herein should do so with HSBC Securities (USA) Inc. in the United States and not with its non-US foreign affiliate, the issuer of this report. In Singapore, this publication is distributed by The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Singapore Branch for the general information of institutional investors or other persons specified in Sections 274 and 304 of the Securities and Futures Act (Chapter 289) (“SFA”) and accredited investors and other persons in accordance with the conditions specified in Sections 275 and 305 of the SFA. This publication is not a prospectus as defined in the SFA. It may not be further distributed in whole or in part for any purpose. The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited Singapore Branch is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Recipients in Singapore should contact a "Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Singapore Branch" representative in respect of any matters arising from, or in connection with this report. HSBC México, S.A., Institución de Banca Múltiple, Grupo Financiero HSBC is authorized and regulated by Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público and Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores (CNBV).
The document is intended to be distributed in its entirety. Unless governing law permits otherwise, you must contact a HSBC Group member in your home jurisdiction if you wish to use HSBC Group services in effecting a transaction in any investment mentioned in this document. HSBC Bank plc is registered in England No 14259, is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and is a member of the London Stock Exchange. (070905)
In Canada, this document has been distributed by HSBC Bank Canada and/or its affiliates. Where this document contains market updates/overviews, or similar materials (collectively deemed “Commentary” in Canada although other affiliate jurisdictions may term “Commentary” as either “macro-research” or “research”), the Commentary is not an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to sell or subscribe for, any financial product or instrument (including, without limitation, any currencies, securities, commodities or other financial instruments).
© Copyright 2017, HSBC Bank plc, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, on any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of HSBC Bank plc. MCI (P) 094/06/2016, MCI (P) 085/06/2016 and MICA (P) 021/01/2016