Trade Policy in the Era of Trump

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Trade Policy in the Era of Trump

Mr Simon Lester

Abstract: In the U.S. Presidential race, Donald Trump has made a mockery of normal policy debates, including trade policy, with a series of contradictory and outrageous statements. None of these statements seem to have hurt him in the polls. As perplexing as Trump's success has been, he is far from the only one to put forward weak policy arguments: The debate over TPP has not been much better. Both critics and supporters often rely on flimsy logic to support their cause.  In this atmosphere, how are those looking for a reasoned trade policy debate supposed to proceed? Should we get down in the muck with everyone else? If we rise above it, will we be ignored? This lecture considers the future of trade policy and trade negotiations, given the current state of the political debate in the trade arena.

Mr Simon Lester is a trade policy analyst with Cato’s Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies. His research focuses on WTO disputes, regional trade agreements, disguised protectionism and the history of international trade law. Before joining the Cato Institute, he worked for the trade law practice of a Washington, D.C., law firm, and also as a legal affairs officer at the Appellate Body Secretariat of the World Trade Organization. In 2001 he founded the international trade law website WorldTradeLaw.net. He has written a number of law journal articles, which have appeared in such publications as the Stanford Journal of International Law, the George Washington International Law Review and the Journal of World Trade. In addition, he has taught courses on international trade law at American University’s Washington College of Law and the University of Michigan Law School. He has a JD from Harvard Law School.