The mayor of Tampa, Fla., said Donald Trump's administration needs to move cautiously on trade, and he opposes Trump's plan to step away from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
"I think the effort to dismantle TPP is a big mistake," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. "For me, as the mayor of the biggest port in the state of Florida, the closest port to the Panama Canal, with opportunities to trade with the Far East, yes, absolutely it is concerning to those of us to whom those jobs are tied."
Trump announced that he will quit the Trans-Pacific Partnership on his first day in office. The TPP deal was signed by 12 countries which account for 40% of the world's economy.
"I think we need to compete in a global environment. The opportunity to reduce 18,000 tariffs and barriers to 40% of the world's GDP is a positive thing," said the mayor. "It allows us to create Made-in-America goods and sell them abroad. If we don't step in as America, then the Chinese will. They will fill that void in the Far East."
The mayor believes trade benefits both the local and national economy. "I understand the deep dislocation issues in the heartland. But it's not the trade deals, it's the technology that's changing that economy there.
Buckhorn said that without the TPP, economic growth in the Tampa area may not be as robust. He also said he has not yet decided on the formal request to designate Tampa as a sanctuary city, but said he will protect the city's immigrants.
"I have no intention of creating any kind of list or enforcing any kind of policies that I think will discriminate against our families or our community," he said. "We don't use our police department to go after undocumented citizens."
The mayor made his comments will visiting New York to promote the economic redevelopment underway in Tampa. He was joined by former money manager Jeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lighting, who has invested in a $3 billion mixed-used project.