The “Protectionist Moment” That Wasn’t: American Views on Trade and Globalization

Recent polling results puncture the current conventional wisdom on trade and public opinion — in particular, that Americans have turned en masse against trade and globalization, and that President Donald Trump’s economic nationalism reflects the bottom-up policy demands of a silent majority of American voters. In a new paper, Cato scholar Scott Lincicome reviews the data and shows that United States’ recent implementation of protectionist tariff and trade policies has not been driven by intense public demands for such policies.

The Ideal U.S.-U.K. Free Trade Agreement: A Free Trader’s Perspective

Many good reasons exist to negotiate and conclude a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom. One of the best reasons is that it affords two of the world’s largest economies — both deeply committed to the institutions of free-market capitalism and the rule of law — the opportunity to break new ground and pioneer the rules of a genuinely liberalizing 21st-century trade agreement. In a new paper, Daniel J. Ikenson, Simon Lester, and Daniel Hannan describe the principles that should be reflected — as well as the substantive issues, elements, and provisions that should be included — in what free traders would consider the ideal free trade agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom.

The Incoherence of Trump’s Trade Wars

The last 13 presidents of the United States considered trade to be mutually beneficial for their fostering of economic growth and good relations among nations. They aimed to avoid trade wars, reduce barriers, and respect the rules. President Trump has departed from this path, seeing trade as a zero-sum game instead of a win-win proposition. Trump’s views, based on economic fallacies, contradictory objectives, and an unhealthy fixation on manufacturing, will only reduce investment, increase economic uncertainty, and hurt American consumers, argues Daniel Ikenson, Director of the Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies.

Cato Studies

Of Special Note

Candy-Coated Cartel: Time to Kill the U.S. Sugar Program

Candy-Coated Cartel: Time to Kill the U.S. Sugar Program

For decades, the federal government has been operating a program to control the production and importation of sugar. The program’s main purpose is to ensure minimum prices for sugar, typically much higher than those found in international markets. In leading this sugar cartel, Cato scholar Colin Grabow argues in a new paper, the government has raised costs for U.S. consumers and U.S. businesses that use sugar in their products, while making citizens suspicious that their government is actually working for them, instead of advancing the narrow interests of special interest groups, such as sugar producers.

Trade Politics

#CatoConnects: Simon Lester & Inu Manak on NAFTA and Trump’s Tariffs

The President has linked tariffs on aluminum and steel to the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations, although he has exempted Canada and Mexico for now. Negotiations on a new NAFTA had been looking positive, but linking the trade deal to tariffs could undermine that progress. What is the future of continental free trade? And how should a renegotiated NAFTA be different?

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From the Cato Institute’s Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, the Cato Trade Newsletter is a periodic email featuring trade policy news, commentary, and resources from a free-trade perspective.

Free Trade, Free Markets: Rating the Congress

Free Trade, Free Markets: Rating the Congress

This interactive web site allows users to examine how Congress and its individual members have voted over the years on bills and amendments affecting the freedom of Americans to trade and invest in the global economy. The web site includes votes previously examined in a series of Cato studies published from 1999 through 2005, as well as more recent votes.