President Trump returned to his attack on global trade — Is This a Good Trade Policy?

     After failing to declare China a currency manipulator this week President Trump returned to his attack on global trade.
     Relying upon rarely utilized “national security” arguments and questioning the well-known restrictions on domestic content requirements and the principle of non-discrimination for private and public contracts.
      The following two executive orders are highly questionable under global trade rules of the WTO and its Government Procurement Agreement — the new executive order requesting Section 232 review of steel imports on national security grounds and the new executive Order on “Buy American” as to steel for construction contracts.
     Most importantly these executive orders indicate the still unresolved civil war within the administration between the ‘nationalists’ and the ‘globalists.’
      What is required for a sane American trade policy is a return to a firm acceptance of the trading order that emerged during the last few decades. In which the United States was the primary architect. We’ll see how this plays out.

About Stuart Malawer

Distinguished Service Professor of Law & International Trade at George Mason University (Schar School of Public Policy).
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