Produced by VICE News, Trump's Trade War travels across the United States to gain insights on the winners and losers of our present-day global trade dysfunction.
During his campaign and throughout his young presidency, Donald Trump has repeatedly promised a tougher stance on global trade. Allies and critics agree that he has delivered on that promise. Set off by the initial tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, his tough rhetoric and merciless enforcement has set the rest of the world on notice: negotiate deals that are more appealing to American interests or reap the consequences of no deal at all.
But to what extent are these inflexible policies affecting everyday Americans as they go about their jobs and work to support their families?
The filmmakers visit with workers at an aluminum plant who all cite Trump's tough trade policies as the principal reason why they have a job. The plant was closed in 2016, but many of the laid-off workforce was rehired upon the plant's recent reopening. "We can support ourselves without depending upon other countries," claims one employee. The CEO of a large aluminum company agrees. His industry was on the verge of extinction, he claims, until Trump's firm stance allowed for a rebirth.
The chief culprit is China. The country's aluminum and steel production is done on the cheap, and this excess product floods the market and tips favor away from America.
Ultimately, though, the diagnosis isn't as rosy as the one depicted by the aluminum factory personnel. The Chinese have countered American hostilities with their own crushing tariffs. Countless U.S. goods - such as massively exported soybeans - are taking big hits during this tense game of trade one-upmanship. Many U.S. corporations are bracing for impact, and are in full crisis management mode. If this trend were to continue much longer, the prices of many essential goods will become prohibitive, and will lead to significant job losses across the American landscape.
By exploring the broader aspects of the global trade conflict, Trump's Trade War paints an informative and frightening portrait of an economy that teeters on the brink of potential downfall.