Douglas A. Irwin: Clashing over commerce: a history of U.S. trade policy
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Over the first two years of his administration, President Trump has taken a very controversial approach toward trade policy. From abandoning the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade proposal, to renegotiating NAFTA, to applying numerous new tariffs, the President has been pushing a protectionist’s view of trade that has many concerned about the future of the U.S. trade policy.
Fortunately, Doug Irwin has published a very timely new book that helps put these concerns into perspective. The book, titled Clashing Over Commerce: A History of U.S. Trade Policy, is a sweeping 832-page history that shows the current anxieties about President Trump’s trade policies are nothing new. From the colonial period to the present, Irwin shows that trade policy has always been contentious.
One implication of the book is that support for trade today seems more secure than in the past despite President Trump’s trade machinations. To understand why, one needs to step back and see the broader development in...