Let me begin this by stating, unequivocally, that I am a supporter of “real” free trade. In fact, candidate Trump’s rhetoric on trade was one of the reasons I preferred other candidates during the GOP primary. However, the President himself has argued that he is also for free trade… as long as it is “fair” trade as well.
In this, he has an important point to make.
As the nation that attempts to take the moral “high road” as often as possible, the United States (in the past) has often allowed itself to accept inferior deals as a method of placating our political opponents across the sea. Many of our past trade deals have been accepted freely, but have not always been in the best interests of our people… and that is not what “real” free trade is all about. “Real” free trade benefits both parties and their economies and is a boon to the populations of both nations.
With that in mind, President Trump’s tough talk on trade makes much more sense. In fact, a shocking new report recently discovered that President Trump’s tough talk seems to be dramatically working in favor of the United States.
The report found that other G20 economies inflicted 52 “hits” against U.S. commercial interests in the first half of 2017, 29% fewer than in the same period last year, and a similar decline versus 2015.
The “hits” include tariffs, duties and quotas on U.S. imports, anti-dumping measures, and tax incentives for exporters that could hurt American companies.
“The G20 countries that had hit U.S. interests more often before President Trump was elected are the very G20 countries that have cut back on protectionism the most in 2017,” said Simon Evenett, professor of economics at Switzerland’s St. Gallen University and one of the authors of the Global Trade Alert. “Why should [they] do that unless they feared being singled out for retaliation?”
“These heavy users of protectionism may be signaling that they have gotten the message from the Trump Administration in Washington,” Evenett added.
The chief global economist at Capital Economics, Andrew Kenningham, argued that the study is proof positive that Trump’s rhetoric had actually done the exact opposite of what his many detractors said it would do. “Mexico’s government has certainly turned the other cheek in response to Trump’s threats. So it is actually possible that rather than prompting a global trade war, Trump’s rhetoric and policies may have little effect or even lead to more free trade,” Kenningham said.
Even so, his political opponents on the left who spend most of their time attacking and undermining the free market on everything else, have suddenly become supporters of unchecked free trade. Their sudden support for free trade is disingenuous though and it is simply the easiest way to attack a President that they do not like. Imagine that, the left has become so hell-bent against Trump that they can visibly see the benefit of Trump’s rhetoric and actions and still they stand opposed to him. It’s madness. It’s modern liberalism.
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