Stacked containers are shown as ships unload their cargo at the Port of Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 22, 2021.

Publication Type

Have trade agreements been bad for America?

Policy Briefs 22-17
Photo Credit: REUTERS/Mike Blake


Many Americans are persuaded that trade agreements of the last 40 years have been a costly mistake. To be sure, open markets leave some people behind, and promises to help those hurt were broken. But on balance, expanding trade has greatly benefited the US economy, and policy approaches taken need to be built on rather than abandoned. Alan Wm. Wolff, Gary Clyde Hufbauer, and Robert Z. Lawrence say more must be done to help those harmed, but protectionism is not the solution. The international trading system needs more outspoken US support and leadership if it is to be maintained and improved.

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