Over its first two years, the Trump administration has aggressively reshaped U.S. trade policy. One of its most controversial initiatives is the expansive use of national security to justify imposing tariffs and quotas. Internationally, many U.S. trading partners responded immediately to the tariffs with tariffs of their own, and both the U.S. tariffs and the retaliatory tariffs are the subject of litigation that will test the limits of the WTO’s dispute settlement process and the trading system itself. In a new paper, Cato scholars Simon Lester and Huan Zhu suggest an alternative mechanism to handle these issues.
While the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement has received far more attention, a lesser-known U.S. trade deal has also been reworked. The renegotiation of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) provides a useful example of Trump’s trade dealmaking in practice. In a new paper, Simon Lester, Inu Manak, and Kyounghwa Kim demonstrate how the renegotiation made only minor changes to the agreement and could be taken to mean that the reality of Trump’s trade policy may not always match the rhetoric.