Is Trump’s trade talk win­ning?

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - ONLINE EXTRA -

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.

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