Controversial billionaire business mogul and candidate for the presidency of the United States Donald Trump has outlined steps he intends to take should he win the election “to bring back our jobs”.
“I am going to withdraw the United States from the Trans Pacific Partnership which has not yet been ratified," he told supporters at a rally in Pennsylvania in June. "I’m going to direct the secretary of commerce to identify every violation of trade agreements a foreign country is currently using to harm you, the American worker.”
"I’m going to tell our NAFTA partners that I intend to immediately renegotiate the terms of that agreement to get a better deal – by a lot, not just a little, by a lot – for our workers.
“Any country that devalues their currency in order to take unfair advantage of the United States, which is many countries, will be sharply met and that includes tariffs and taxes.”
With such sweeping changes sure to have an impact on the food industry, FoodNavigator asked food firms at IFT if and how a Trump victory would affect their business, although most companies did not want to comment on the political situation.
‘It won’t change business fundamentals’
Swiss-born Christian Kopfli is CEO of New Jersey-based FlavorHealth, a biotech science company which helps industry reformulate foods to make them healthier.
“It’s an interesting question,” he said, but added that he didn’t think the outcome of the presidential elections would change the fundamentals of doing business. “People and consumers want to have healthy, well tasting food and we are here to provide the solutions. Whoever gets elected in the fall, I don’t think it will have a strong impact on that fundamental desire.
‘There is a trend to bring jobs back to America – that could have negative effects for us’
Dale Donaldson, founder and owner of the family-run Everspring Farms, based in Ontario, Canada. It sells organic sprouted grains, beans and pulses around the world but most of its foreign trade is with the US.
“No question, there is a trend in the States to bring back jobs to America and could have an impact on trade deals or border restrictions,” he said.
“Sometimes countries can get very creative about what they qualify as border restrictions so definitely that’s something that we have to think could happen, which could have potentially negative effects for a country like Canada that relies on the US so much.
“But overall, I think our relationship is so strong and entrenched with trade that I’m not overly concerned. But who knows what will happen in the fall, that’s a whole other story.”
Hopefully there will be trade between all countries
Mitchell Stefaniak is the vice president and chief financial officer of New Jersey company Paulaur Toppings, which manufactures both artificial and natural dessert toppings.
He said that neither candidate has spoken specifically about future policies that could affect the food industry. “We’re just hearing a lot of general ideas so I’m not really sure which candidate will call for which kinds of regulations. Hopefully it will be something that will encourage trade between all countries."
But Donaldson of Everspring Farms said Trump has spoken about renegotiating trade deals.
“How much of that could or couldn’t be done I don’t know. But I still think the talk and chatter about that is attractive to people in America who feel they have lost jobs because of trade deals."
“That talk and that sentiment could affect future trade deals. But it’s hard to say,” he concluded. ”It’s a complex and complicated issue.”