The following post was written by a high school student participating in the CSX program, “How Tomorrow Votes.” Through this program, high school students spend two days at the Republican and Democratic national conventions and learn how to report as student journalists. “How Tomorrow Votes” is a program dedicated to giving the next generation of voters a voice today. Learn more at howtomorrowvotes.com

Cleveland--As Election Day hastily approaches, many voters consider trade to be a significant issue. On the first day of the Republican National Convention, billionaire oil executive Harold Hamm and Elaine Chao, former Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush, highlighted trade reform ideas related to the Republican Party platform at a live event at The Washington Post convention headquarters.

Trade issues are imperative to address, Hamm and Chao said, because they ultimately determine the future of America and its allies.

Among the trade deals they discussed was the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a tremendous trade agreement negotiating trade between America and 11 other countries. The TPP strives to expand the economic network between the U.S. and the 11 countries by reducing taxes and promoting trade leading to an elevation of growth. There is speculation that this trade agreement could result in the migration of U.S jobs to developing countries, which will escalate competition.

Republican nominee Donald Trump, whose views on trade have run counter to the Republican Party position, has criticized the TPP. He has emphasized that trade deals should be fair and better negotiated.

Some citizens are buzzing about trade issues because they feel uneasy about economic conditions and how they are impacted by recent trade solutions. “Americans have exited the workforce causing them to be at a loss and worried about their livelihood,” said Chao. She also said the economy is not progressing as fast as it could, so there should be a better approach to trade.

Hamm and Chao cited the relationship with China as an example of a trade agreement that could improve. “I think what is really important is that this relationship—this very important bilateral relationship—be kept on an even keel, that we take a long-term point of view, that we protect our self-interests, of course, but that we keep this relationship going in a mutually advantageous path,” Chao suggested. In commenting on whether Trump’s suggested approach for trade could cause a trade war, Hamm said, “I certainly hope we won’t [start a trade war], I don’t think he will. There probably is somewhat of a trade war always going on.”

Due to the importance of trade, individuals question whether or not Trump will be an adequate leader during periods of severity. Citizens want to insure that when difficult situations arise, America will always soar amongst other countries.

Maya Logan is a sixteen year old student from Spartanburg, South Carolina. She is in the STEM cohort at Dorman High School in which she maintains an A-average, and serves as the vice president of her class. Maya strives for excellence in her church, school, and community. She would like to thank her mom, brother, and aunt for all their love and support. Most importantly, she appreciates this distinguished opportunity from How Tomorrow Votes program, CSX, and The Washington Post.