Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA
It’s not news to anyone that the U.S. consumer electronics industry is inseparably linked to the importation of foreign-made goods. Foreign trade is a hotly debated topic among politicians and pundits, more so now with a presidential election upon us. The Consumer Electronics Association will be discussing issues of free trade and their impact on CE at the upcoming Washington Forum the first week in April. In preparation for that, we asked Gary Shapiro to share some of his ideas on the subject.
Dealerscope: Why is CEA directing so much attention to free trade issues now?
Gary Shapiro: The concern is that we have had two decades of administrations, Republican and Democrat, that were very supportive of free trade, and the consumer electronics industry has prospered because of that. Our products are sourced from so many different countries, so there are thousands of examples of where free trade has allowed us get the best products to consumers quickly and inexpensively. There’s been a shift in popular consensus against free trade. Republicans who were generally in support of free trade are now not. And now you have the presidential campaign and some of the candidates are anti free trade. Hillary Clinton has called for a “time out” on free trade agreements. Obama hasn’t said much on it. McCain is very pro free trade. Huckabee is not pro free trade.