Donald Trump sonne comme une protectionniste. Dans son discours devant l’Economic Club de New York la semaine dernière, Il a condamné « ces terribles trade deals,” by which he meant most of the significant free-trade pacts of the last generation as well as the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership.

« Je vais renégocier nos offres commerciales désastreuses, surtout de l’ALENA,« Il a mis en garde. « Nous allons aussi garder l’Amérique hors de la Trans-Pacific Partnership ».

En quoi consiste un libre-échangiste comme moi de le faire? Je suis un partisan de l’ALÉNA, ainsi qu’un défenseur du bien meuble corporel. Les consommateurs américains ont bénéficié d’une augmentation de la disponibilité des produits que nous utilisons tous les jours grâce à un commerce. Comme un agriculteur et éleveur, J’ai bénéficié de la possibilité d’exporter mes produits dans le monde entier, en particulier à nos partenaires de l’ALENA et les clients asiatiques.

Haut marché d’exportation pour U.S. viande bovine l’an dernier était au Japon, un allié potentiel de PPT. Ses habitants ont acheté $1.28 milliard de produits américains, selon les États-Unis. Fondation d’exportation viande. Viennent ensuite les nations de l’ALENA du Mexique (qui a acheté $1.1 milliard) et Canada ($900 millions), suivie de la Corée ($810 millions), Grâce à l’accord de libre-échange U.S.-Corée.

My livelihood depends on these opportunities. I’ve spent 60 years in agriculture, starting with 4-H: achat, alimentation, caring and showing my cattle at our county fair. I didn’t know a lot about trade back then, but I’ve learned over the years that the meat products from my efforts feed people at home and around the world.

Can Trump move beyond his anti-trade campaign rhetoric and embrace the existing trade agreements that have benefitted farmers, propriétaires d'un ranch, and so many other Americans? That’s my hope, if he’s elected. President Barack Obama pulled it off and found his way back to support trade. As a presidential candidate, he sounded rather like Trump does now. As president, he became an ally of free traders.

So let’s imagine a best-case scenario.

I’m encouraged that even when Trump bashes NAFTA and TPP, he often acknowledges the importance of trade. “I’m a free trader,” he said when he announced his presidential candidacy last year. He has repeated the claim since: “I’m all for free trade,” he said in one of the debates.

The optimist in me wonders if he’s playing this like a businessman who knows how to make a deal.

A fundamental rule of negotiation is never to begin with your final offer. Au lieu de cela, start with an ambitious offer that potential partners probably won’t accept. Then enter a process of give and take, in an effort to find a mutually agreeable compromise.

Pensez-y de cette façon: Do you ever walk into a car dealership and just pay the sticker price? Bien sûr que non: You try to get the dealer to lower the cost. Under no circumstances do you tell salespeople the top-dollar price you’re willing to pay.

When candidate Trump talks about trade, peut-être il fait une ouverture candidature — mais pas une offre finale. He’s trying to startle other countries into taking American interests more seriously.

“We will entirely renegotiate NAFTA,” said Trump last week. Then he called for “a deal that will either be good for us or will be terminated until a brand new and productive deal can be signed.”

I support NAFTA and would be happy to leave it untouched. But I certainly wouldn’t reject a good trade agreement that’s renegotiated into a better one. Trade agreements are meant to be ‘living documents’ after all.

I’m also in favor of TPP. I would be pleased to see Congress pass it and President Obama sign it before the year is over. If they don’t, Cependant, and Trump becomes president, perhaps a Trump administration would extract a few new concessions from TPP countries and bring back a new and improved TPP.

This might be the only way to save a trade agreement that makes so much sense for the United States, both economically and as a matter of national security.

It comes down to business skill: “The problem with free trade is you need really talented people to negotiate for you,” said Trump last year. “If you don’t have people that know business… trade is terrible.”

At the New York Economic Club last week, Trump suggested a different way: “I will use our greatest business leaders and finest negotiators. And I know who you are. Many of you are in the room.”

Enfin, I’m taking a look at Trump’s Agricultural Advisory Committee, whose members were announced last month. It includes a wide range of politicians and policy experts: including industry leaders like Mike McCloskey, CEO of one of America’s largest dairies; Marcus Rust, head of America’s second largest egg producer; and Kip Tom, a large agri-business operator. I know many of these individuals. The team has enormous expertise and experience in international trade and can help educate and illustrate best trade practices from their perspectives and experience.

These people wouldn’t lend their good names to a ruthless protectionist.

Maybe they haven’t.