If you look back over America’s 245-year-history, you’ll see that our most prosperous times are when we have robust trade agreements with other nations. According to the conservative Heritage Foundation, much of the prosperity that Americans have enjoyed in the last three decades can be traced back to open markets.
Finding Common Ground supports policies that increase our economic interactions with other nations rather than wall us off from the rest of the world. Why? Most Americans support international trade. A recent survey by Gallup showed that only 18 percent see global trade as a "threat to the economy from foreign imports." As a matter of fact, 79% say it’s "an opportunity for economic growth through increased U.S. exports."
Here are some ideas we support embracing trade again:
Trade must be fair and balanced. It cannot be one way.
We support removing the ‘America First’ tariffs. First and foremost, we must end the tariffs (taxes on products made abroad) imposed under the Trump administration’s “America First” policy. While the tariffs may have resulted in a slightly reduced trade deficit, the overall economic impact has been disastrous. A report in late 2020 by the Peterson Institute for International Economics revealed that from the time the tariffs were enacted through September 2020, China bought only 53 percent of the goods from the U.S. that it usually buys. What’s more, retaliatory tariffs on goods imported to the U.S. from other nations cost American consumers $80 billion, amounting to the 17th largest tax increase since 1940. We urge the Biden administration to reconsider the value of these tariffs, which threaten to continue to raise prices, reverse economic growth and reduce economic prosperity.
We support renewing our partnership with the WTO. In recent years, particularly in the protectionist era of “America First,” the relationship between the U.S. and the World Trade Organization has been contentious, perhaps even hastening the demise of the organization in the near future. Much of it has been based on a falsehood: Contrary to what some elected officials say, the U.S. wins most of its trade disputes with China. We urge the new administration to renew its relationship with the WTO and return to the multilateral trade agreements that have helped make America strong.
Finding Common Ground
This much is clear: America needs to renew its relationship with its closest trading partners. We can’t respond to innovation and globalization by isolating ourselves from the rest of the world. And as the polls show, Americans don’t see the value in protectionism.
Free Trade helps all parties.