Tennessee Became China’s Most Dependent U.S. State Following Bill Hagerty’s Tenure As Economy Chief


Senate hopeful Bill Hagerty’s stint as Tennessee’s Department of Economic & Community Development Commissioner ended with the Volunteer State becoming the “most dependent state in America for trade with China”.

In addition to policies Hagerty advocated for at the expense of American workers, his first-choice candidate in the 2016 Republican primary was Jeb Bush.

The choice wasn’t off-brand for Hagerty, given his previous work with establishment presidents and hopefuls including George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, and John McCain. And even after Jeb’s candidacy flamed out, he shifted to supporting pro-amnesty Marco Rubio, only eventually backing Donald Trump when he secured the Republican nomination.

Appointed by ‘NeverTrumper’ Gov. Bill Haslam to lead the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) in 2011, Hagerty began pushing for Tennessee companies to expand to global markets. In the years following, however, such hopes never materialized but left Tennessee with a massive trade deficit and ensuing job loss.

Hagerty’s boss Haslam said, “the best thing for the party would have been for [Trump] to step aside.”

Under Hagerty’s leadership, the ECD spearheaded a “Medical Trade Mission” to China and South Korea.

“The group will visit Beijing, China and Seoul, South Korea where they will attend meetings arranged by the U.S. Commercial Service. The mission participants will also travel to Shenzhen, China to attend the China International Medical Equipment Fair, the largest exhibition of medical equipment and related products and services in the Asia-Pacific region,” the press release described.

While the motives behind the trip – ostensibly to invite Chinese buyers to view Tennessee as a viable source for goods – could have boosted business profits, Hagerty’s initiatives only increased the state’s dependence on China.

Just a year after Hagerty’s tenure and plans came to an end at the ECD, Tennessee was named as the “most dependent state in America for trade with China” and a “top China trader”.

While candidate Trump was making the case that the United States was “upside down” in trade with the United States, Haslam and Hagerty were increasing this deficit:

The Volunteer State imported $23.7 billion of products from China last year, compared with exports to China from Tennessee of $2.2 billion. Such trade represents 7.9 percent of Tennessee’s gross domestic product, more than any other state in the country, [Steve] Livingston, [a professor of political science who studies international trade and publishes Global Commerce at Middle Tennessee State University] said.

Chinese imports were even greater at $27 billion into Tennessee in 2015, according to government figures.

China is a major supplier of electronic components used to make cellphones, printers and computers in Tennessee, Livingston said.

China also is among Tennessee’s top 10 states for the level of foreign direct investment in the state with 14 Chinese companies investing more than $457.7 million in Tennessee facilities.

Historically, neo-liberal economic policies have lauded China buying up American companies and owning American jobs like this. Referring to it euphemistically as “foreign direct investment”.

In reality, it’s selling out the nation to the Chinese Communist Party.

This resulted in trade deficits, a catalyst in driving American job loss, despite a trickle of a few hundred “new jobs” as a sop to U.S. nationalists.

Dependence on China also leaves the quality and availability of products American consumers rely on in the hands of a communist country intent on overtaking the United States as a global power.

While Hagerty’s actions alone weren’t responsible for wide-scale outsourcing and dependency on China, it certainly seems like he helped lay the groundwork for such trade deficits.

Recently, Hagerty has attempted to convince voters that he is “pro Trump”. Conveniently timed for his own political campaign for Senate.

But as The National Pulse has previously reported, Hagerty has staffed up his 2020 Senatorial campaign staff with establishment mainstays: his top staffer and fundraiser has a long history of working for Never Trumpers, Democrats, and consults with a controversial EB-5 immigration firm, effectively selling American citizenship.

Staff Writer

The National Pulse is a part of the American Principles Project.

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