Report: Chemical Industry Wary of Trump

The U.S. chemical industry, like other business interests, generally tends to favor Republicans in national elections — but 2016 is no ordinary election year.

Mnet 123778 Trump

The U.S. chemical industry, like other business interests, generally tends to favor Republicans in national elections.

But 2016 is no ordinary election, and Chemistry World reports that pattern appears unlikely to hold up this time around.

The report noted concerns among chemical industry observers about Donald Trump's protectionist rhetoric, as well as questions about the Republican nominee's command of scientific issues.

Financial contributions to the Trump campaign, meanwhile, are only a fraction of the amount that went to 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, according to a CW review of Center for Responsive Politics data.

"What Hillary Clinton would do is to extend the Obama administration’s support for science and technology," American Physical Society public affairs director Michael Lubell told the publication. "In the case of Donald Trump, I would say, 'God knows.'"

Analysts warned about the economic implications of Trump's promises to renegotiate — or dismantle — international trade agreements.

Trump also vowed to overhaul the H-1B visa program that currently allows foreign workers to enter the U.S. for specific, high-demand occupations.

The Republican nominee argued that Americans are hurt by the influx of foreign graduates, but experts said foreign scientists already face immense obstacles to securing approval to work in the U.S.

Trump, of course, made immigration issues a centerpiece of his campaign, from his vow to build a massive, expensive wall along the Mexican border to calls for restrictions on Muslims from traveling to the U.S.

"His policies, if implemented, would be a disaster," Arizona State theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss told CW. "Talented people from around the world would be denied entry."

Trump also called for sweeping changes to the Environmental Protection Agency, which observers said instead needs new resources to implement a bipartisan overhaul of the nation's chemical laws.

Some industry groups — notably the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates — indicated concerns "about both candidates," and some in the biotech sector were critical of Clinton's allegations of price-gouging in the pharmaceutical industry.

But Clinton, analysts said, would likely be more amenable to facilitating overseas trade, and her policy proposals include both increases in research funding and an avenue for overseas scientists to remain in the U.S.
 

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