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How to Make Trade Work for Workers

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How to Make Trade Work for Workers

Charting a Path Between Protectionism and Globalism

Foreign Affairs,

5 min read
3 take-aways
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Trade policy should prioritize opportunities for American workers, says the US trade representative. 

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According to US trade representative Robert E. Lighthizer, the Trump administration’s trade goals are to level the playing field for American manufacturers, reduce the current account deficit and safeguard US jobs. In this well-argued briefing, he explains the tariffs on Chinese goods and the new US–Mexico–Canada Agreement. Anyone seeking a better understanding of current US trade policy will find this an informative inside look at the subject.


The Trump administration’s trade agenda aims to balance American interests.

Two opposing views tend to dominate trade debates: Some see tariffs as a tool of foreign policy. An example is China’s 2001 entrance into the World Trade Organization, which proponents saw as potentially leading to diplomatic gains and international stability. But the country used its entry to expand its military footprint in Asia. Stalwarts in the other camp believe that trade policy should center strictly on achieving economic efficiencies that reduce costs and benefit society. Advocates argue that lower prices for consumer products more than compensate for the inevitable transfer of high-paying jobs to low-wage countries.

But that has...

About the Author

Robert Lighthizer serves as the US trade representative in the Trump administration.

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