Trump Doesn't Really Want Free Trade (He Just Wants to Make it Look That Way)

The US wants tariffs on trucks, the EU wants tariffs on agriculture. Hypocrites all.

Trump claims to be a free trader who wants to eliminate tariffs altogether as well as industry subsidies and non-tariff trade barriers across countries. He proposes higher tariffs to eliminate them.

Making Sense of Trump's No Tariff Call

Please consider Making Sense of President Trumps Call for Zero Tariffs.

>Is that no-tariff objective serious after all that Mr. Trump has said in favor of them?

>Probably not. As recent talks with Europe help show, most nations have industries they are determined to protectincluding the U.S.which makes it hard even for the most ardent free traders to level the global trading field completely. It is one reason the global trade deals that do exist are so complex and often uneven, and why they are likely to stay that way.

>The U.S. initially pushed the zero-tariff line in recent talks with Europe, but both sides quickly watered it down.

>The U.S. insisted that automotive trade be exempted from the talks, even though the U.S. is pushing Europe to eliminate its car tariffs and has threatened tariffs as high as 25% on European car imports, if they dont.

>The reason vehicles arent in the talks: The U.S. auto industry itself relies on 25% tariffs to protect U.S. trucks from import competition, and the Trump administration wanted to preserve that. The European Union, on the other hand, blocked U.S. efforts to consider agricultural subsidies because it wanted to preserve the Common Agricultural Policy, which relies on subsidies. Also off the table: U.S. Buy America provisions, which block foreign firms from government contracts.

Looking for a free trade advocate? Look in this direction, not at Trump. He's a free trade hypocrite.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (11)
No. 1-9
flubber
flubber

It is just my opinion, but I believe Trump has imposed tariffs to bring trading partners to the bargaining table. For all I know his end game may be to push USA tariffs to the breaking point and have other countries respond likewise until the SHTF. Then possibly all tariffs will be removed worldwide.

Carl_R
Carl_R

Or, is it the reverse? Maybe he really wants free trade, but constantly calls for tariffs, so it doesn't look like it? I totally agree that he's a free trade hypocrite, but as for what he really wants, I haven't a clue, and honestly, I'm not sure I'll ever have a clue what exactly he was trying to accomplish, even after he's gone. My best guess is that he has an incredibly short attention span, and combined with a tendency to say whatever is on his mind, and, as a result, his discourse is like a series of disjointed sound bites.

Is there an underlying philosophy that guides him? An actual goal that he is trying to accomplish? I'm increasingly inclined to believe not.

2banana
2banana

Looks like all countries want trade policies that BENEFIT THEM.

And if a foolish country rolls over and plays dead, that country will be ruthlessly taken advantage of.

And if that foolish country suddenly wakes up and demands better, all the grifter countries cry bloody murder.

Welcome to the real world Mish.

thimk
thimk

We priced our products out of the global marketplace . Let's make the structural changes needed

tz1
tz1

The way to fix the problem of guns is for the good guys to give up theirs? Apparently the only one listening to the (debated and flawed) Ricardian arguments are US Crony corrupt politicians. If UNILATERAL Free Trade is always good for everyone, everywhere, everytime, why are Canadians, Chinese, Japanese, the EU, etc. so evil or stupid? Wouldn't their economies just go into the stratosphere if they dropped all their barriers? Japan has lost two decades.

The whole thing is more complicated - you can explain the benefits entirely by the DEBT we are accumulating to buy cheap stuff while paying welfare (instead of wages) to the displaced. Heads, the multinational crony corporations win, tails the displaced workers become wards of the state and the workers and taxpayers lose. Crony capitalism. Corporate welfare.

Meanwhile keep all the horrid regulations in place that prevent anyone from starting or running a viable business starting as an individual.

channelstuffing
channelstuffing

Dismantling of the communists in beijeng is top priority for Trump,end the communist slave state.Nothin you can do about mexico,they make all our vehicles and the cartels are overrunning the country plus china loaning us trillions every year so americans can afford the ridiculosly marked junk they produce (remember sears craftman lol),would sears be still in business today if they kept craftman in Conus instead of outsourcing all their once top notch tools (now complete shoddy junk) to china.

Escierto
Escierto

They will pay us vast sums of money? Trump has no idea how tariffs work. The importers will raise the prices of the goods they are selling to cover the cost of the tariffs. American consumers will pay for the tariffs. Just like Mexico will pay for the wall lol. He keeps telling his cult members that there is a free lunch for them and they believe it. Just like the seven new US Steel plants that will never materialize but he has to keep talking about. All politicians are liars but he has taken it to a whole new level.

Sechel
Sechel

Trump will push no tariffs until Europe says yes, and then he'll say but not coming into the U.S. Agree on European agriculture. This has been a long standing issue. Farmers in both Europe and the U.S. tend to have outsized political clout

RonJ
RonJ

"The U.S. initially pushed the zero-tariff line in recent talks with Europe, but both sides quickly watered it down."

I would assume that zero-tariff was a starting point for negotiations. I would also assume that zero-tariff is a fantasy.