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Why Trump has a better economic plan than Clinton

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have announced their visions for the American economy.

Clinton will raise taxes. Trump will cut taxes. Clinton will increase regulation. Trump will decrease regulation. Clinton has vowed to kill the coal industry. Trump will leverage America's energy resources to create new jobs and growth.

On trade, Clinton will keep exporting our factories and jobs. Donald Trump will renegotiate every bad trade deal the Clintons have ever gotten us into.

The saddest fact here is that Hillary Clinton doesn't know the difference between a good trade deal and a bad one. Exhibit A is the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).

In her economic speech in Detroit, Clinton bragged that she voted against the one multilateral trade deal that came before the Senate while she was there. That was indeed CAFTA-DR, a multilateral deal involving the U.S. along with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic.

Here's what Clinton did not confess to: She was wrong to oppose CAFTA-DR. In 2014, we had a favorable trade in goods balance with the CAFTA-DR countries of $2.7 billion. By 2015, that jumped to $5 billion. This pattern continued in the first half of 2016 with a surplus of $2.4 billion.

Now what about the very poorly negotiated trade deals Hillary Clinton did support? Take NAFTA, which she lobbied for and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, signed in 1993. At the time, our trade in goods with Mexico was roughly in balance, with a small surplus of $1.7 billion. Today, we run a trade deficit in goods of roughly $60 billion — an astonishing leap.

Moreover, in a typical short-circuit of the truth, Bill Clinton promised us a 200,000 net job gain from NAFTA. Instead, we've lost over 850,00 jobs, according to research by the Economic Policy Institute. Yet, in her book, "Living History", Hillary Clinton described NAFTA as "reaping the benefits, not the burdens, of globalization." That may be true for Mexico and Canada but certainly not for the USA.

NAFTA is hardly a bad trade deal outlier in the Clinton oeuvre. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton helped draft the South Korea Bilateral Agreement, describing it as "cutting edge." She was right. It cut 75,000 American jobs, according to the EPI, rather than the 70,000 gain promised by the White House. Meanwhile, our trade deficit with South Korea has doubled.

Hillary Clinton also promised as senator to create 200,000 new jobs in upstate New York and wound up with a net deficit of 31,000 jobs during her first term, according to the Labor Department. Do you get the picture?

In fact, the only trade surplus the Clintons seem to be able to run is in accepting money from big business and foreign corporate interests, while fielding requests for White House and State Department favors — and likely giving them out. And this is the Democratic Party's nominee.

Commentary by Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro. Ross is the former chairman of International Auto Components, a global auto supplier with more than 20,000 employees in 18 countries. Navarro is a business professor at the University of California at Irvine and director of the documentary film "Death By China." Both are senior policy advisors to the Trump campaign.

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