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The Good, The Bad and The Uh-oh
We don't know much about life with Trump, but a few things are clear.
Americans, and the world, are sorting through just what Tuesday’s decision means, and we likely will be for a long time.
And while it’s far too early to know how life and business might change, Mr. Trump has given us all some signals about what he intends to do, and from that we can extrapolate here are a few things that will likely affect how this truly international business will run.
- Lower oil prices. There’s a reason oil stocks shot up yesterday. It’s expected Trump will encourage more US oil production, along the lines of conventional Republican orthodoxy. That can mean more consumer spending, and for the fishing sector, lower costs.
- Aquaculture in the US may get a boost. Trump seems to like big projects, and nothing is more exciting or ambitious than building up a new industry.
- Good times for home-grown. Catfish and Gulf shrimp will be back on the map…for awhile. It’s clear we are going to see a much more nationalist America, and coupled with trade restrictions, that could boost some domestic producers.
- Infrastructure. If he indeed does follow through on his grandiose promises to rebuild America’s roads, bridges and railway corridors, it could help facilitate the flow of goods, which can open up new areas to seafood consumption.
- Trade war. I addressed this in an earlier column. With the US importing so much of its seafood, there’s no way consumer prices don’t take a hit if America closes doors on countries such as China. While domestic producers like the ones I mentioned above might get a short-term boost, higher costs would eventually make them a luxury item, and damped overall seafood demand.
- Consumption. Nothing is worse for business than uncertainty, and if there is one thing America can expect it’s the unexpected. Consumers may be a more careful with spending, increase savings, and generally cut down on fun, like eating out.
- Immigration. The US seafood industry – both processing and fishing – depends heavily on migrant labor. We don’t know what policies Trump will put in place, but we do know they will not be welcoming.
- Climate change. Climate change is perhaps the greatest threat to the global seafood industry. The failure to address this in the campaign (on either side), and Trump’s seeming belief that it is a hoax, means little additional action.
- And finally, civility. The language Trump uses is often misogynist, bigoted and xenophobic. Now that it has been normalized, there is a risk that both the words and the ideology will creep back into the workplace, and a deeper risk that friends and trade partners around the globe will see that as a reflection of America.
Seafood is a paragon of a progressive, global business -- a business for the future. Many Americans, it seems, prefer the past.
Despite your political leanings, and whatever happens next, I hope you can help reassure your fellow countrymen that global trade and international business -- and citizens around the world -- are not to be feared, but embraced as business partners, suppliers and customers.
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