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Neil Cavuto was joined by Gregg Hymowitz, founder of Entrust Capital; Jim Rogers, president of JimRogers.com; Cheri Jacobus, Republican Strategist; Tom Dorsey, President of Dorsey, Wright & Associates; Mike Norman, founder of Economic Contrarian Update; and Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor and founder of Victim Advocacy and Research Group.
Neil Cavuto: Is President Bush about to go from wall street hero to wall street villain? The stock market has rewarded the President with an historic rally for his tax cuts and for his tough stance on terror. But is he about to wipe out all all those gains with his tough stance on bras and bathrobes? I'm talking about a looming trade war. The White House is trying to protect American manufacturing jobs by limiting the amount of bras and other fabrics we buy from China. So Jim, is it getting nasty?
Jim Rogers: Of course it's getting nasty. This isn't good for the country. It's not good for the market. And it's not good for the economy. We did it with steel and it cost us more jobs than we saved. And no one has ever won a trade war. We will lose as much as the other people.
Gregg Hymowitz: I don't think there's going to be a full-blown trade war. Free trade is a great thing in theory. But in reality, when it's about your jobs and when it's about the 300,000 jobs that have been lost in the textile industry. That's a real problem.
Mike Norman: The fact of the matter is, the Chinese just don't play fair. Out of the sixteen million vehicles Detroit and the "big three" manufactures every year, only about 25,000 vehicles go to China. And that's because there's 100% tariffs on imported vehicles.
Neil Cavuto: Here's what worries me that this is going to start causing problems for this President because he touts himself as a free trader but again and again he appears to be anything but.
Cheri Jacobus: I don't think anyone expects a president to be 100% free trader if it means jobs in the United States being lost. If this is perceived as an elbow jab to the Chinese, that's going to be just fine as well. It's also a speed bump to correct an inequity and imbalance of trade with China. I don't think this is going to hurt the President at all. And there is certainly not going to be a trade war.
Mike Norman: Jim, when you said there were jobs lost in steel you were wrong. It did lose but it was at a slower rate than it lost in the year before the inception of the tariffs.
Jim Rogers: The people who use steel lost more jobs than the steel industry.
Gregg Hymowitz: The problem is it's nice to have free trade but you also have to balance competition. There are more unemployed people in China than the entire labor force in the United States. And they will do everything they can to get them employed. Even if it's How do we tell people in the United States, 'just re-train yourself.' That's not a good enough answer when it's your job.
Jim Rogers: If you raise prices here by putting on tariffs, that makes us less competitive and we lose more jobs.
Mike Norman: Jim, the Japanese and the Chinese have essentially been doing that for decades and you say these are the countries that we should emulate. We're not allowed to do it, but they are?
Gregg Hymowitz: The problem this President faces and we face as a country is how do we manage the problem in the short-term. We're basically talking about tariffs on 5% of a $10 billion textile industry. You have to manage this carefully otherwise you're saying to hundreds of thousands of people to just retrain themselves.
Neil Cavuto: Cheri, what do you make of the notion that where there's smoke, there's fire. That it starts with steel and could now effect things like bras and bathrobes.
Cheri Jacobus: No, I don't think there is any link. The steel tariffs were something that was designed to help the employment situation here in the United States in the steel industry and it's been working. Our economy needs to come back and employment is the last lagging part of this.
Jim Rogers: The Europeans have already said they're going to put retaliatory tariffs on our goods in 2004. Nobody wins trade wars.
Cheri Jacobus: The President hasn't announced what he's going to do and I'm sure there's a compromise in there somewhere. The retaliatory measures could be lessened.
Jim Rogers: Mike, the steel stocks have not done anything during this whole period of time.
Mike Norman: It's a three year program. They went down and came back as the effects of the tariffs started to take hold. If we run it through for the three years, they're going to be a lot higher.