Trump’s trade policies need serious rehabilitation.

Biden faces numerous trade issues. Including the TPP & China. However, many more are also in need of critical attention — tariffs, trade sanctions, export controls, investment restrictions, taxation of multinationals and technology firms, offshore tax evasion and tax havens, protection of intellectual property rights, and better promotion of state and federal policies for engaging the global economy in local economic development.

And of course reconsideration of U.S. policies concerning the WTO and of a host of bilateral and regional trade agreements (including the revised NAFTA). A number of international economic and political institutions also need close attention (the WHO, OECD, EU, NATO).

A return to multilateral diplomacy is critical. Must have a rejection of bilateral bullying and the politics of unrelenting threats. The further rejection of the ‘America First strategy’ and foreign policy of unilateralism and grievances is essential.

But even more importantly —- upholding the rule of law (domestic and international law) and institutions (domestic and international) are most essential. And ceasing unrelenting revenge litigation. We need a return to the real American values. Those that have made the U.S. a global inspiration and have structured the global system for decades.

This includes reengaging with the WTO’s dispute system and stopping discrediting it. We should use it. This was an American initiative. The rule of law is immensely better than daily chaos.

In conclusion, there needs to be a return to respecting and promoting  professionalism, public service, the legal system and institutions, and civic mindedness in our public officials and society.  Better public education from K through universities need to do a much better job of this. This is essential to promoting and sustaining American democracy.



About Stuart Malawer

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