Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Trade Tactics Seeking Fairness for U.S. Workers Is Practical Policy

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Trade Tactics Seeking Fairness for U.S. Workers Is Practical Policy

Article excerpt

The arguments for protecting American workers, not new but put forward strongly in the 2016 presidential campaign by Donald Trump, are valid. They played a large part in his victory. Americans across the political spectrum know that something is very wrong when a nation loses its manufacturing base, which leads to hollowed-out towns, despair and anxiety. These arguments must be kept firmly in mind in conducting United States trade relations with the rest of the world.

Mr. Trump's balancing act of defending an America First agenda while reasserting America's place on the global economic stage now is on display in Davos, where the world's economic elite gather to talk.

Although America remains the world's largest economy, and what it does continues to have a major impact in the world, international trade has a "rolling on the river" aspect to it. It just keeps flowing along, and that requires another balancing act. America must rebuild its manufacturing base, adapt to global trends and leverage international trade developments at best it can. Keeping a place at the table can pay off.

One of Mr. Trump's first acts as president, as he had promised, was to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. When completed, it would have lowered trade barriers among the United States and other major economies, such as those of Australia, Canada, Chile and Japan. Together, the TPP would have covered a major percentage of the world's trade. (Hillary Clinton, who once favored TPP, opposed it by the end of the campaign.)

There may have been some idea that without the United States the TPP would founder. It didn't, and on Tuesday, 11 nations signed on, with the formal ceremony to take place March 8 in Chile. Henceforth, America's role will be to engage the TPP as best it can, on terms satisfactory to both parties. We may not have an official seat at this table, but our voice still will be heard.

Washington this week imposed new tariffs on the import of washing machines and solar modules. …

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