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Former President George W. Bush says politicians shouldn’t base U.S. trade policy on anger.
A week after President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE’s victory, Bush urged a focus on trade policy that will help citizens at an event at his presidential library in Dallas on Tuesday.
“Anger shouldn't drive policy. What needs to drive policy is what's best for the people who are angry and how does that benefit people in our country and the countries in the neighborhood," Bush said.
Trump frequently argued against trade deals during his presidential campaign, promising to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and to kill the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Bush on Tuesday promoted free trade in a growing globalized economy, arguing that "trade and investment drives technological innovation."
He also noted that the economic changes caused by a globalized economy create "angst" but said "it's in the interest of the working people that we adjust."
"And so the question is: Are we going to be a dynamic economy or a stagnant economy? I think we ought to be a dynamic economy," he added.
Bush did not mention Trump by name, but he sought to counter the president-elect’s rhetoric on trade, arguing that NAFTA created jobs.
Exit polls showed Trump’s rhetoric on trade and globalization helped him carry the Rust Belt states, where voters believe trade deals have cost Americans jobs.
According to a transition team memo obtained by CNN on Tuesday, Trump plans to follow through with his NAFTA promises. The memo outlines a plan to address NAFTA within Trump's first 200 days in office.
"The Trump trade plan breaks with the globalist wings of both the Republican and Democratic parties," the memo reads. "The Trump administration will reverse decades of conciliatory trade policy. New trade agreements will be negotiated that provide for the interests of US workers and companies first."
Trump also repeatedly attacked China on the campaign trail, arguing that it took jobs away from Americans.
Bush suggested that the U.S. stay competitive with China by partnering with Mexico and Canada.
"People say, ‘Oh and how can we possibly compete with an emerging economy like China, you know, we're doomed,'" he said. "I don't know if you hear that in Mexico and China but occasionally you heard that in the United States."
He argued that the way to compete with China is to "work together."
"One of the things that's important to understand is that the United States work with the Mexican workers, and the Canadian workers, work together to make products to sell to the world. It's a win, win, win," he said.
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