Two New Trade Reports — Workers and Trade — Guess Who Needs More Prorection?

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     Two recent and really significant government reports have been released (around the time of the U.S. midterm elections) concerning U.S. trade policy focusing on U.S. workers and China.

 

The first by the U.S. International Trade Commission (October 2022) and the other the 2022 Annual Report by the U.S. – China Economic and Security Review Commission.

 

     The report by the ITC entitled “Distributional Effects of Trade and Trade Policy on U.S. Workers” concluded, in part, “[P]olicies resulting in increased import competition had negative effects on workers in their communities and that imports were competing unfairly, for example, due to dumping or lack of worker protections in exporting countries.” p. 14.

 

     The report by the U.S. – China Economic and Security Review Commission concluded, in part, “China has subverted the global trade system and moved further from the spirit and letter of its obligations under its WTO accession protocol. China’s subsidies, overcapacity, intellectual property (IP) theft, and protectionist nonmarket policies exacerbate distortions to the global economy. These practices have harmed workers, producers, and innovators in the United States and other market-based countries.” p. 175

 

     These reports echo the long-standing Biden administration’s focus on workers and its criticism of the trading system.  To me, this is also a continuation of the Trump trade positions with a bit more emphasis on workers. I suspect that as a result of the midterm elections the Biden administration will find more common ground with the Republicans in Congress, and we will see a renewed push for more industry subsidies and restrictive trade legislation (perhaps also restricting the WTO.)  

 

USITC Report of Foreign Trade Competition (Oct. 2022).

2022 Annual Report of the U.S. – China Economic and Security Review Commission (Nov. 2022).

 

About Stuart Malawer

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