Discussion Paper

No. 2017-114 | December 22, 2017
The protectionist’s progress
(Submitted as Global Solutions Paper)


President Trump’s actions on trade have not quite matched his rhetoric, but the worst may be to come. Though the political opposition to his protectionism is formidable, so are his conviction and determination and he possesses a wide array of instruments to pursue his goals. The trade doctrine he has espoused makes for trade policy instability both at home and abroad. It may lead to a large deterioration in the operating environment of international business. America’s trade-dependent industries and her trading partners should not wait. They need to anticipate and deter the administration’s actions. Policies must be adjusted to minimize the damage to world trade.

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Cite As

Uri Dadush (2017). The protectionist’s progress. Economics Discussion Papers, No 2017-114, Kiel Institute for the World Economy. http://www.economics-ejournal.org/economics/discussionpapers/2017-114

Comments and Questions

Anonymous - Referee report
December 22, 2017 - 08:06

The paper offers a well-written, well-researched and convincing analysis of the current trade policies followed by the Trump administration. It highlights the status quo, measures it against the promises made during the election campaigns, predicts a couple of possible consequences and proposes policies to be adopted by US trading partners. ...[more]

... The article is highly relevant for Global Solutions Papers as it contains important analysis relevant for the multilateral system and makes relatively concrete recommendations for G20 countries, amongst others.

A general remark concerns the apparent implicitness that free trade is desirable. While it is absolutely obvious for economist, in particular trade economist, (including myself), it is far from obvious to the electorate in the US and, as a matter of fact, to other electorates around the world as well (even in winner countries such as the UK and Germany). Hence, I would suggest to address this conflict more head on, and to also allude to this when drafting policy recommendations for US trading partners. They will have to be particularly alert to what the new US policies mean for their own workforce.

Another remark concerns the language used. Given that also non-trade experts are deemed to read the Global Solutions Papers, the author should explain some terms, e.g. sunset industries, MFNs, WTO Appellate body. Moreover, the source of the figures should be mentioned, including the way in which the numbers were derived.

Jiddah M.A. Ajayi - The Protectionists Progress
December 23, 2017 - 20:25

The paper is well researched one,so analytical to capture all the essential ingredients of international trade,the threats posed by the trumpian policy,its effects, as well as the possible consequences.
Its a must read paper for economists,politicians,and policy analysts. will certainly recommend!!! it to my students