Friday, July 1, 2016

The Perils of Killing International Trade Deals

By Professor Jeffery Atik

Not since the 1993 Ross Perot-Al Gore debate on NAFTA have international trade issues appeared so prominently in U.S. political discourse. Both the insurgent presidential candidates -- Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders -- called for a break from longstanding U.S. policies favoring international trade. Two major ongoing trade initiatives - the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) - are threatened.

Britain’s recent decision to exit the European Union has almost certainly ended any prospect of concluding TTIP, and both Trump and Hillary Clinton are now expressing opposition to TPP. Trump’s opposition to TPP is a bit surprising, as TPP was designed to counter China’s influence in the Pacific region. China is the central focus of Trump’s neo-nationalist ire; he
promises to subject Chinese goods to punishing tariffs. Were he to do so, it would likely plunge the entire World Trade Organization into crisis, effecting a U.S.-style “Brexit” from the international trading system.

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