President Trump famously called the North American Free Trade Agreement “the worst trade deal ever made.” Bygones. The need to debate that claim has been mooted by the fact that NAFTA’s likely successor — the United States‐Mexico‐Canada Agreement — now holds that distinction.
America’s divisive, deleterious culture war started long before January 20, 2017. But during the presidency of Donald Trump, as exemplified in his UNGA speech today, a new front in that war is open over the question of the future of America’s role in the world with regard to trade and international institutions.
The Democratic Party is long overdue for a serious, substantive debate over the objectives and tools of trade policy. Making a play for the center on trade would be the outcome that best serves the party and the country.
Based on information that the U.S. public hasn’t seen, the Trump administration has deemed Huawei a national security threat. That may well be the right conclusion, but other governments seem unconvinced, and have resisted.
Instead of entering what many anticipated would be the home stretch of negotiations to end the nearly yearlong trade war, U.S. tariffs on about $200 billion of imports from China are set to increase from 10 percent to 25 percent.
In two short years, President Trump has transformed the United States from the beacon and ballast of the ship of global trade to the gale‐force winds bending its masts and shredding its sails. Whether the ship returns to a stable, predictable course or continues to tack wildly, take on water, and possibly sink should become slightly clearer in the year ahead.
In the wake of the recent “trade agreement” between President Trump and EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, we have seen a surfeit of commentary heaping praise on the U.S. president for his strategic trade policy vision and tactical brilliance.