Does Trade Policy Matter?

Who really cares what trade policy we adopt anyway? This question has become more pressing as public support for trade has waned, as trade has become a contentious issue in the U.S. presidential campaign, and as efforts to attack remaining trade barriers have faltered. As hard as it may be, it is worth trying to reinvigorate the global trade environment. Public opinion is skeptical, and the political obstacles are substantial, but the benefits of a revitalized trade system strongly outweigh the drawbacks. Resting on our trade laurels not only would forego future gains, but would threaten the trade gains of the postwar era that we currently enjoy. This Outlook launches a new series on international economic policy issues. It is part of AEI’s new Program in International Economics.

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