*PDF Download: In 60 Seconds – Trade and Tariffs
Free trade is the world’s great engine of wealth creation, vital to U.S. prosperity. Trade generates jobs, lifts living standards, and encourages innovation.
Here’s the issue of trade and tariffs in 60 seconds:
What’s at Stake:
Free trade is the world’s great engine of wealth creation, vital to U.S. prosperity. Trade:
- generates jobs
- lifts living standards and
- encourages innovation.
In a perfect world there would be no tariffs on any side. But there are threats today to our
national security that in some cases merit tariffs.
- Entirely free trade, with no concern for predatory tyrannies such as China, or terror-sponsoring
states, such as Iran, taking advantage of our open system to threaten and subvert us.
- Protectionism, or tariffs solely for the sake of economically “protecting” U.S. producers.These come at the expense of American consumers, who usually end up paying higher prices.That amounts to a net loss for the U.S. economy and lower standards of living.
We must distinguish between trade restrictions that genuinely protect U.S. national security,
and those that merely protect special interests.
A Better Path Forward:
At its best, free trade with friendly nations provides a foundation not only for prosperity, but also for peace.
But we must take into account the predatory behavior of anti-democratic tyrannies, in which
state-directed economic behavior undermines the U.S. and our allies. Most prominently, China
has taken advantage of U.S. openness, and world markets generally, to:
- steal intellectual property,
- strong-arm American companies into the transfer of trade secrets
- engage in state-directed investments abroad with military dimensions (such as ports in
strategic locations), or high propaganda value (such as money for U.S. universities and other
centers of influence), in ways increasingly dangerous to American and our allies.
America should not abandon its basic commitment to free trade. We should continue to
champion free trade in practice, wherever and however it does not endanger our national
security. This is a complex but critical balance.