Donald Trump blasts companies like Ford and Apple for manufacturing products outside the United States. He even threatened to stop eating Oreo cookies after he learned some production was moving to Mexico.
And it’s not just Donald’s products. Harvard professor and trade expert Robert Lawrence analyzed over 800 items in the Ivanka Trump fashion line. There are shoes, dresses, purses and scarves. All are “imported.”
The top five countries that America imports clothing from are China (by far the leader), India, Vietnam, Pakistan and Mexico.
“In a recent debate Marco Rubio mentioned ties. But the ties made in China are just the tip of the iceberg,” says Lawrence, who served on President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers.
Lawrence found that none of Ivanka Trump’s clothing line appears to be made exclusively in the United States and 354 items are listed as made in China.
Trump doesn’t dispute this.
“I talk about my ties in speeches. I’m open. I say my ties many times are made in China,” Trump told CNN’s Jake Tapper in July.
“It’s very hard to have apparel made in this country,” Trump said.
The issue is getting renewed scrutiny as Trump becomes the clear Republican frontrunner for president and has made trade a key 2016 campaign theme.
Trump says he will “make the greatest trade deals we’ve ever made in our country.”
He wants to put a tax on Chinese and Mexican goods like clothing coming into the United States to level the playing field and bring back middle class jobs. He’s said the tax could be as high as 35 or 45%.
Economists warn this would ignite a trade war and could cause a recession. China and Mexico and possibly other nations would respond by putting taxes on U.S. goods and services. It would also make a lot of everyday items more expensive for Americans.
Even just a 25% tariff would likely cause the two-piece Trump suit to jump in price from about $150 to $188.
“The realist in me says: is he really going to do those things if he gets in office?” mulls Bob Doll, chief stock strategist at Nuveen Asset Management.