Trump's Shocking Trade Preferences
By David Henderson
I knew that DonaldTrump has long been suspicious of international trade and has worn his uninformed anti-trade preferences as a badge of honor. I’ve argued with pro-Trump friends that his proposed replacement for NAFTA is good only because it isn’t as bad on trade as I feared it would be: it will, if passed, reduce gains from trade for both sides, but not as much as I had feared.
So none of what I saw come out of the renegotiation of NAFTA came as a surprise.
None, that is, until this:
Stripping out the investor dispute-settlement provision was an American demand. U.S. trade rep Robert Lighthizer and Mr. Trump figured that fewer Americans would invest in Mexico if contract disputes were settled in Mexico’s notoriously corrupt courts. After U.S. business complaints, the revised agreement retains current protections for the likes of oil and gas, telecom and power generation. But that leaves banks, retailers and countless others more vulnerable to regulatory assault from the left-wing populists who will soon be running Mexico. (italics in original)
This paragraph is from “Bad Trade Timing,” the Wall Street Journal‘s editorial that appeared today.
As the Journal editors conclude:
New Nafta may be the first trade agreement in history that is designed to encourage less trade and investment across borders. (italics mine)