Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen had the unenviable task of talking about the U.S. presidential election to an international audience at Export Exchange 2016 today in Detroit.
“I know half of you are sick to death of the election and just want it over, and half of you are watching in somewhat bemused amazement wondering what in the world is going on with the world’s greatest democracy,” Dinneen said before delving into how the elections might impact global trade. “America remains deeply divided and our political system is as polarized as it has ever been.”
Dinneen gave a good overview of polling data, battleground states, Senate races and much more, with the caveat that anything can change in this unusual election year. When it comes to trade, Dinneen noted that anti-trade rhetoric has been high this year. “But at the end of the day, trade is just too important to the U.S. economy, particularly the farm economy, so I don’t see (the election) having much of an impact,” Dinneen said in an interview after his address. “Part of what I was trying to do with the international audience was to tell them not to get caught up in the rhetoric of an impassioned and frankly odd campaign.”
Comparing the views of both presidential candidates on trade side-by-side, Dinneen said, “Donald Trump has never met a trade pact that he likes…his rhetoric and policy have all been anti-trade.” Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, “has had a history of being far more favorable to trade,” said Dinneen, but during the campaign has “also moved to be a bit more anti-trade.” He notes that Mrs. Clinton now says she opposes the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) even though she once called it the “Gold Standard.”
Dinneen believes trade is more dependent on people like those attending the Export Exchange, working one on one together to build relationships, which is critical for ethanol producers who export one third of the more than 40 million metric tons of the co-product distillers grains (DDGS) for livestock feed.
Listen to Dinneen’s address here: RFA CEO Bob Dinneen at Export Exchange 2016
Listen to interview here: Interview with Bob Dinneen, Renewable Fuels Association