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It turns out that Donald Trump letting other nations know that America will serve its own interests, and not international interests, has produced less protectionism from those nations. This has forced the Washington Compost to admit, once again, that Trump was RIGHT.
I’m as big a free-trader as anyone, and I am not eager to see protectionist policies imposed by the U.S. government because they usually end up costing U.S. consumers more than anyone else. But I also recognize what Trump has long understood about negotiations: In order to get the deal you want, you have to be willing to walk away with no deal at all. The left was sure that Trump’s bluster would prompt other nations to impose new trade barriers against U.S. goods, triggering a global trade war that would jack up prices on just about everything and shut off our access to global markets.
And if that had happened, it would have been an economic disaster. But now one of the biggest Trump-haters of all, the Washington Post, is forced to admit that, at least so far, Trump’s trade rhetoric appears to be working exactly as he intended:
The world’s largest economies have responded to Trump’s trade threats with less protectionism, not more, according to a new study by Global Trade Alert, which has monitored protectionism among countries in the Group of 20 since 2008.
Since January, G-20 countries have imposed 29 percent fewer protectionist policies than they did in the same period in 2016. And it’s not because the United States is playing nice: Since January, U.S. policymakers have imposed 26 percent more protectionist policies on its G-20 peers than during the same period a year before, according to the report.
Caroline Freund, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, calls this a “backlash to the backlash against globalization.” Trump’s bellicose talk around trade seems to be producing a pause in protection, and even liberalization in the rest of the world, she said.
It’s also a demonstration of the allure of the U.S. market. While countries may chafe at Trump’s demand for new trade terms, they do not want to risk jeopardizing their companies’ access to one of the world’s largest economies by retaliating.
“If he is going to go on a trade rampage, they don’t want to attract extra attention by imposing new measures,” Freund said.