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Poll: Should Gov. Christie Be So Busy With International Trade Policy?

While Christie is talking global trade, back home he’s vetoing a slate of ‘Buy American’ bills

It’s not unusual for Gov. Chris Christie to be all over the news -- and all over the country -- but when the subject is international trade, it’s another matter.

And while Iowa, Chicago and New Hampshire have figured large in his travel plans, Christie has ventured much farther afield -- visiting the U.K, Canada, Israel, and Mexico over the past few months and meeting with foreign leaders.

His visit to London last week was billed as a trade mission. Yesterday he met with the Chinese ambassador in Trenton to talk about trade, according to the NJ AFL-CIO.

Last year, New Jersey sold $3.8 billion of goods abroad but bought $126.3 billion. That’s a major trade deficit.

Meanwhile, Christie’s most direct action on trade occurred last week when he vetoed a slate of “Buy American” bills that had passed the Legislature on a bipartisan basis. The Legislature was trying to force public agencies such as area colleges and the Port Authority to include more American products in their huge capital projects by giving some Americans a leg-up.

What do you think about Christie’s activities regarding trade?

  • While he’s obviously trying to burnish some international credentials in the run-up to his presidential campaign, he’s right on the veto and he’s right to try to market New Jersey outside the state. Protectionism has never proven to grow an economy but marketing has.

  • Protectionist policies are a terrible idea. They only lead to companies being less competitive and effective, and mean a higher cost to government and consumers. We don’t need that here in New Jersey -- we need to make sure our industries can match anyone, anywhere.

  • The truth is, the bills were unworkable. They didn’t take into account global supply chains and the fact that 50 percent of components would have to come from American manufacturers. That would be a nightmare for companies to manage and monitor.

  • Those bills that Christie vetoed were not all or nothing -- they simply gave some advantages to American companies in hopes of getting more domestic products into our big projects. We already have laws on the books encouraging this but they have no teeth. These bills would allow for waivers if the cost got too high or needs could not be met by American companies. There is no reason for an Italian firm to be handling the reconstruction of the Bayonne Bridge. With our economy in bad shape and so many infrastructure needs on the horizon, this bill would have at least ensured that some of the money we spend will come back to taxpayers.

  • I agree with the AFL-CIO. New Jersey’s losing good jobs. We’re 63,000 manufacturing jobs off our prerecession levels. What’s more, we’re competing with companies that are subsidized by their governments! It’s really inexcusable for New Jersey not to do the minimum in terms of looking out for its own. Once again, a bipartisan measure gets blocked by Christie. We need a way forward.

  • At this point, whatever Christie is for, I’m against. These trips and meetings are all about his presidential run. Every decision he has made for at least a year has been determined by how it will look in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Texas. I no longer believe he has almost any strongly held opinions -- he’s just saying and doing whatever he thinks will appeal to Republican primary voters.

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