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Make America Trade Again

No matter how much some US presidential candidates may deride free trade, it remains the backbone of the American economy. Without it, the US would be significantly poorer and its global influence would diminish significantly.

COPENHAGEN – No matter how much some US presidential candidates may deride free trade, it remains the backbone of the American economy. Without it, the country would become significantly poorer and its global influence would diminish significantly. So why has bashing free trade become a key theme in this year’s presidential race?

One of the clearest reasons for this is that economic anxiety is widespread in the United States, which is still reeling from the aftereffects of the 2008 financial crisis. Too many Americans are working fewer hours and earning less than they once did. They are tired of the status quo, and the presidential candidates are right to address their concerns.

But introducing protectionist measures is a quack cure that would solve nothing; on the contrary, it would only exacerbate the economy’s problems. Free trade is not a liability for the US economy; it is a necessity. The US has negotiated free-trade agreements with 20 countries. And though these countries represent only 10% of the rest of the world economy, in recent years they have purchased nearly half of all US exports.

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