President trump has suggested that the United States of America change or renegotiate our current trade agreements to 'make America great'.
This phrase is nonsensical and has no real meaning.
To the extent that the United States has an actual problem from foreign trade, it arises from our continuing surplus of imports over exports. This is a legitimate concern and will be recognized as such by our trading partners.
A rational administration would make it clear that we simply wish to reduce our cash outflow and have no punitive objective; we simply want to re-balance our domestic economy.
Our current administration has a habit of creating ill-will by inappropriate comments. Inflammatory rhetoric does create the possibility of a trade retaliation, but a non-confrontational approach may well avoid that outcome.
But simply replacing imports with domestic products will not increase US jobs substantially and may have further deleterious impacts on the US economy. After all, some of the dollars sent overseas for merchandise come back in the form of T-bill purchases.
If we want to reduce our trade deficit - and I think we should - we should go politely to our trade partners and point put how each of them has a trade surplus while we are the sole industrialized country with a trade deficit.
We would request some relief with the objective of a zero trade balance for the United States, while making it clear that we do NOT wish any harm to their economies; we seek only to reduce or eliminate our dollar drain.