After Trump’s Triumph, What’s Ahead for Food Industry?

In the wake of political outsider and underdog Donald J. Trump’s stunning upset victory over Washington insider and establishment favorite Hillary Clinton in being elected the 45th President of the United States, members of the global food industry are trying to figure out what repercussions may be in store for them. They will no doubt be contemplating the fallout for some time to come.

Trade deals such as NAFTA and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which were characterized by Trump as disadvantageous to Americans during the long, grueling campaign, will surely be among priority issues dealt with when he assumes office in January. And it remains to be seen if the candidate’s promise to slap a 45% tariff on imports from China, a nation he regards as a “currency manipulator,” will be implemented.

According to analysis published by The Wall Street Journal, Trump’s triumph may herald “an era of US combativeness with trade partners such as China and Mexico, which Mr. Trump says benefit in a global system that cost America jobs. If implemented, Mr. Trump’s promises could bring trade wars, drive up the price of imports and rattle a global economy that has relied on the expansion of international trade to drive growth.”

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Meanwhile, regardless of one’s political persuasion, there is solace in the old adage that “People Have to Eat” among folks in the food business. The key questions are: What will they eat? Where will they eat, and what will it cost?

The $783 billion US restaurant industry, which employs 14.4 million people and is a major buyer of frozen food products, was quick to weigh in on the Presidential election result through its leading trade association.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA), in a statement issued on November 9, said it is “looking forward to working with the Trump transition team and the Trump administration to advance the goals and agenda of the restaurant industry.”

The NRA added: “As for what this means for restaurants, a new Administration always presents new opportunities and challenges for an industry as diverse as ours. We will likely see an increased effort toward border security and, potentially, broader immigration reform. Given Trump’s background in the hospitality industry, it is likely he will push for his proposed tax cuts and regulatory reform for the business sector. Further, we may see relief in some of the burdensome requirements imposed on businesses and employees alike in the health care space, as well as in labor regulations (such as the Overtime Rule).”

As this story was being written shortly after noontime on November 9, President Barack Obama issued a statement from the Rose Garden, announcing that he will meet with President-elect Trump at the White House the following day.

“Yesterday, before votes were tallied, I shot a video that some of you may have seen in which I said to the American people:  Regardless of which side you were on in the election, regardless of whether your candidate won or lost, the sun would come up in the morning. And that is one bit of prognosticating that actually came true,” commented Obama.

The 44th President of the United States went on to say: “I have instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush’s team set eight years ago, and work as hard as we can to make sure that this is a successful transition for the President-elect – because we are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country. The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy.  And over the next few months, we are going to show that to the world.” – Reported by John Saulnier