42 Years of Impactful Scholarship

Volume 42, Issue 5

Analyzing the Trump Administration’s International Trade Strategy

The Trump Administration’s trade strategy is unorthodox to phrase it in the mildest terms. At no time since the modern international trading system began with the founding of the World Trading Organization (“WTO”) has the US government launched such a multipronged assault on the global trading system. The Trump Administration’s approach—as I have argued elsewhere—is, in my view, quite dangerous for the global trading system and contrary to the United States’ interests. The purpose of this Essay is to provide some constructive analysis on how the Trump Administration, or another succeeding administration, could address the United States’ trade concerns with other nations more productively. This Essay begins by acknowledging that there are real and serious concerns regarding Chinese government policies, particularly in the areas of intellectual property and support for state-owned enterprises. This work addresses how the United States could achieve gains in Chinese trade relations without creating a threat to the broader global trading system. This Essay’s perspective is based on the recognition that the United States not only needs to be concerned about its trading relationships today, but relations over the next twenty to fifty years. The rules and structures of the current multilateral system—the agreements making up the WTO—are overwhelmingly in American interests. We largely created the WTO (along with the European Communities, Japan, and Canada) at the height of our relative global economic power in the 1990s. The United States would never get a global consensus around those same rules or procedures today. Maintaining the stability of that system, respect for that system, and compliance with that system has to be a top American economic priority

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Recommended Citation:

Rachel Brewster, Analyzing the Trump Administration’s International Trade Strategy, 42 Fordham Int'l L.J. 1419 (2019). 
Available at: https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj/vol42/iss5/3