Is Trump’s trade talk winning?
Is there a trade war brewing that’s going to hurt global growth? One survey says: not quite yet — and suggests that President Donald Trump’s “America First” rhetoric may even have deterred some of America’s trading partners from steps that hurt U.S. exporters.
The report by the London-based Center for Economic Policy Research found that the number of trade measures that hurt U.S. commercial interests fell to
52 in the first six months of the year, down from 73 in the comparable period a year earlier under President
Barack Obama. Meanwhile, U.S. actions against G-20 trade partners rose 26 percent. The report said it’s not inconceivable that “the rest of the G-20 may have curbed their protectionist zeal at a time when the new U.S. administration was repeatedly criticizing the unfair practices of its trading partners.”
So is Trump winning? Not so fast. As U.S. scrutiny on trade grows, some countries may be shifting to more subtle forms of unfair trade, like tax breaks for home producers. Trade partners may be simply waiting to see how much of Trump’s bluster translates to action and could retaliate if they’re hurt.