The Pain-Free Solution to the Trade Crisis

There isn’t one. Contrary to the prevailing narrative, the pain didn’t start when the United States imposed tariffs on our trading partners.  The pain started much earlier.  When, exactly, doesn’t necessarily matter, though we can focus on China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), its subsequent skirting of the rules, the WTO’s insistence on…

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Getting Rid of the “Sophie’s Choice” Between American Agriculture and American Manufacturing

As the Trump Administration continues to borrow the Democratic message that globalization has left American manufacturing workers behind, some of our trade partners have chosen to retaliate by targeting American agricultural workers.  As we rightly focus on whether our farmers will be hurt, however, it is important to recall the degree to which our trade agreements…

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Atlas Shrugged

A previous blog explained that: the U.S. willingness to be the market of last resort has been a component critical to the functioning of the global trading system; the U.S. ability to serve as the market of last resort has been compromised by WTO overreach; and no other WTO Member seems to be willing to shoulder…

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The Mad Dash to Deem Trade Agreements “Progressive”

2018 seems to be the year of the Progressive trade agreement.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership has been renamed the “Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership” (CPTPP).  Canada has floated proposals in the NAFTA renegotiation that it has advertised as progressive. Why? Populists in 2016 reminded us that trade agreements are inherently not progressive.  Economic theory…

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Why is the Trump Administration So Mad at the WTO?

The Trump Administration has made no secret about its frustration with the World Trade Organization.  Campaign rhetoric is being channeled into policy.  The United States is single-handedly strangling the Appellate Body by blocking appointment of new members and complaining about those who are holding over past their terms.  The latest WTO ministerial resulted in no…

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The China Meme

The go-to talking point when a trade agreement is in trouble in the United States is to invoke the specter of China.  When TPP began to falter, the rallying cry for passage was that if we failed to seal the deal, China would score a win, not just commercially, but geopolitically as well.  At the…

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