Courtesy Reuters

CONFOUNDING THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM

Contrary to widespread beliefs, relief from predatory foreign trade practices has played a major role in revitalizing key American industries in recent years. Five major American industries, automotive, steel, machine tool, semiconductor and textile, have received significant relief from imports through intelligently structured trade laws. Those industries have confounded the predictions of laissez-faire economic ideologies by gaining market share at home and in some cases abroad, contributing to job creation and reinvigorating American competitiveness. Even in industries that have aggressively downsized since the early 1980s, such as the steel industry, relief from imports has prevented job loss from worsening. In addition, the cost of these programs is far smaller than commonly believed.

President Bill Clinton has given trade policy unprecedented attention not only by supporting the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), but

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.

Subscribe
  • Alan Tonelson is Research Director of the Economic Strategy Institute. He wishes to acknowledge the research assistance of Nisha Mody and Hallet Hastert.
  • More By Alan Tonelson