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The Trade War’s Winners Don’t Include Us

Robert B. Zoellick

By Robert B. Zoellick (Original source WSJ)

“President Trump’s trade thunder booms so frequently that the public has difficulty discerning what’s really happening. After more than two years of trial and much error, Congress and the country should step back to survey the big picture.

The president’s trade policy represents a fundamental break from the past 85 years. It’s more than a matter of aggressive negotiating tactics. Not since Herbert Hoover has a U.S. president so openly embraced trade protectionism. In his inaugural address, Mr. Trump proudly proclaimed himself a protectionist; we should now believe him. His assertion that he is a “tariff man” should convince any holdouts. The president also likes unpredictability, creating the kind of uncertainty that confuses business planning and investment. For example, after signing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (the new North American Free Trade Agreement), he stomped on his own deal by threatening to hike tariffs on Mexico because he was angry about Central Americans seeking asylum.”

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