Responding to questions after a Knoxville Rotary Club speech, Gov. Bill Haslam said he’s worried that Donald Trump as president could trigger a trade war damaging to the Tennessee economy, reports the News Sentinel.
After a brief talk about state accomplishments, Haslam took questions from the audience and was asked if he had concerns that if Donald Trump were elected president, he might involve the country in a trade war at a time Tennessee and the Knox County economies have extensive economic ties with other countries.
“I’m actually really worried about this,” he said.
Haslam said that within the past few weeks, he wrapped up a trade trip to China, South Korea and Japan and those he spoke with had the same question: “Tell us, does Donald Trump mean what he says?”
Haslam said that, next to California, Tennessee is Japan’s largest U.S. trading partner. Tennessee tends to export 25 percent more goods to countries with which it has trade agreements, he said.
It is not realistic to think America can be a completely self-sufficient nation, Haslam said. “And, if you like that thought, then just be prepared for everything you pay for to cost a lot more.”
Placing tariffs on foreign goods will just bring tariffs on local goods, he said.