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Trump’s Anachronistic Trade Strategy

Donald Trump and his team of trade advisers are approaching a twenty-first-century problem with twentieth-century solutions that will only worsen the plight of the US working and middle classes. Over the past two decades, the information revolution has changed the world in ways that tariffs cannot reverse.

LONDON – Donald Trump’s ignominious executive order barring entry into the United States for refugees and others from seven predominantly Muslim countries has dominated headlines in recent weeks. But the damage done to America’s image, and to the global economy, will only be further compounded by Trump’s early decisions on trade.

In speeches and tweets, Trump has aggressively lashed out against globalization. He has appointed the famously protectionist trade litigator Robert Lighthizer to be US Trade Representative. And the other two members of his trade triumvirate – Commerce Secretary-designate Wilbur Ross and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro – are no less protectionist than Lighthizer.

Many working- and middle-class Americans believe that free-trade agreements are why their incomes have stagnated over the past two decades. So Trump intends to provide them with “protection” by putting protectionists in charge.

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