By Matthew Rusling
St. Louis, United States, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. manufacturing has taken a major hit in recent decades, but it should not be discounted, a top economic adviser to U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told Xinhua in an interview.
"I think that anyone who says you should write off American manufacturing jobs is a fool," said Stephen M. Calk, Trump's senior economic adviser and CEO of The Federal Savings Bank. He attended the second presidential debate Sunday night between Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
In fact, American manufacturing "should be a primary motivator for our energies, to regain manufacturing jobs here in the United States," said Calk.
The comments came at a time when Trump vows to bring back manufacturing to the U.S. and the country has still not fully recovered from the 2007-2008 economic nose dive that sent the U.S. economy reeling.
While official jobless figures have lowered, the numbers do not reflect the true health of the economy, as they do not include the millions of Americans who have given up looking for work.
Bringing back manufacturing is certainly part of Trump's economic plan, which intends to do that primarily through drivers of tax reduction and repatriation of foreign profits, Calk said.
"And I think those things could help a great deal in bringing back manufacturing to the U.S.," he said.
When asked whether Trump might focus on ramping up high tech manufacturing rather than low-tech, Calk said that "all levels of manufacturing to the U.S. is absolutely critical."
"And I think that we can be competitive, we can be absolutely competitive, especially if you don't see the subsidies that have been paid to companies...to set up companies (overseas)," Calk said.
Trump has repeatedly blasted the North American Free Trade Agreement - a trade deal with Canada and Mexico - as a bad deal for U.S. workers, saying that it has caused U.S. jobs to be shipped down to Mexico.
When asked about how Trump might renegotiate the agreement, Calk did not offer details of Trump's plan.
"So I think when you talk about terminating any agreement, whether it s here domestically or abroad, you have to look at how it's going to benefit the U.S. And that's what Mr. Trump's primarily focused on," he said.
The same applies to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)- a trade deal in the works that would give some Asian-Pacific countries preferential access to U.S. markets. Trump has also billed the TPP as a bad deal for American workers.
"I think the same rules apply there as well. So anytime that he sees a gross imbalance or injustice, that's where he's going to spend his time, primarily," Calk said of Trump.
Critics and some economists, however, have blasted Trump's trade policies as isolationist and anti-free trade, and economically detrimental.