U.S. Trade Policy: A Post-Election Look at What’s Ahead

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Date: Thursday, November 10, 2016 -12:00pm to 1:30pm

Location: Rayburn House Office Building B-369, 45 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20515

On November 10, 2016, the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy hosted a Georgetown on the Hill panel discussion in the Rayburn House Office Building on what the election results may mean for the future of U.S. trade. J. Robert Vastine, Senior Industry Fellow, served as moderator. Expert panelists included:

  • Wendy Cutler, Vice President and Managing Director of the Washington, D.C. Office, Asia Society Policy Institute;
  • Daniel Griswold, Senior Research Fellow and Co-Director of the Program on the American Economy and Globalization, Mercatus Center;
  • J. Bradford Jensen, Senior Policy Scholar, Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy and McCrane/Shaker Chair in International Business, McDonough School of Business;
  • Doug Palmer, Senior Trade Reporter, Politico.

Panelists responded to the following prompts from Vastine:

  • What is the factual basis of this discussion? What is the importance of trade to the U.S. economy and to the global economy? How important is trade to our wellbeing? What portion of unemployment is actually due to trade competition? Why is the public perception of trade that it is harmful? Why can’t we communicate better the facts? (4:31 (new window))
  • Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, commented, “The amount of dislocation for individuals in an advanced economy like the U.S. caused by this kind of trade agreement is significant for those individuals and their communities but limited in scale. . . All other trading democracies have done better by their workers on this score.” (11:25 (new window))
  • We’ve heard about the effects of trade on employment and the role of technology, is globalization as “evil” a word and should globalization be blamed for the technological shifts that we’ve encountered? Aren’t those who are so concerned about trade also concerned about damping globalization? (17:50 (new window))
  • Why isn’t the message getting through? There are a lot of people who think that it’s a good thing that we have globalization and technology and that job changes are constructive. But, overwhelmingly it seems, people don’t buy it. (19:19 (new window))
  • Turning the discussion to trade agreements, the centerpiece of which is clearly and obviously the Trans-Pascific Partnership (TPP). Comment on its prospects. What are the implications for the U.S. if the agreement doesn’t go forward? How would Asia react? Will our partners go ahead without us? What is the impact if the U.S. does not go forward on other negotiations underway (e.g., TTIP, TiSA, China BIT). (26:00 (new window))
  • NPR’s Mara Liasson stated, “There is no question that the U.S. is moving toward protectionism away from free trade.” Is there a silver lining? (37:40 (new window))

This seminar is part of the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy’s Georgetown on the Hill series at which we convene policymakers, academics, and industry experts to discuss important economic policy issues of the day.