President Donald Trump’s rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has upended U.S. trade policy, intensifying debate over the effects of trade on employment, inequality, national sovereignty, and safety standards.
Experts from the Council of Councils grade international cooperation on global trade a middling C in 2018, rank it one of the lowest priorities on the global agenda, and are only somewhat optimistic about progress in the next year.
Tariffs have been applied over the years to protect homegrown industries and target competitors who are seen as using unfair trade practices. They impose costs on both importers and exporters and had been in decline until the recent U.S.-China trade spat.
China’s industrial policy is aimed at rapidly expanding its high-tech sectors and developing its advanced manufacturing base, but President Trump and other leaders of industrial democracies see the plan as a threat.
So long as the bulk of China's imports from the United States (and many others) are bought by state firms, China has the ability to manage its trade. The management isn't new. What's new is Trump's implicit willingness to accept managed trade so long as the trade is managed in a way that is judged to help the United States.