Trade Wars and Tariffs: U.S. Economic Policy in a Global Economy

Hinckley Institute Radio Hour (Original Air Date: October 19, 2019) This week on the program, we air a forum on trade wars, tariffs and U.S. economic policy in the global market. Free and unfettered trade has been a lasting cornerstone of U.S. policy since WWII, with the U.S. making itself increasingly interconnected with global trade and supply chains. However, the free trade status quo has garnered a long list of both domestic and foreign critics, including President Donald Trump and Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, Peter Navarro. Central to the economic policy adopted by the Trump White House has been the use of tariffs, reduction of trade deficits and rejection of multilateral trade deals like NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

These challenges to mainstream economic thought have been especially visible in the ongoing U.S. trade war with China, the second-largest economy in the world. Over the past year, reciprocal escalation of tariffs on up to half a trillion dollars worth of goods between the U.S. and China has created ripples in the U.S. and global economies and caused uncertainty to rise in agricultural, manufacturing and investment markets. While the beginning phase of a U.S.-China trade deal was reached earlier this year, profound losses in both the U.S. and China markets due to the pandemic lockdown have put the negotiations on hold. President Trump has signaled that if China does not fulfill the concessions outlined in the deal, the U.S. would pull out. While the coronavirus response and economy are still in flux, it is uncertain what the future holds for trade relations and what impact they will have on the 2020 election.

So on today’s show, we present a recent conversation about trade. Discussing the issues of a changing U.S. economic policy, trade wars and tariffs are Cole Capener, Independent Director of BMW-Brilliance Automotive Inc. based in Shenyang, China; Miles Hansen, President and CEO of the World Trade Center Utah; and Rudi Von Arnim, associate professor in the Economics Department at the University of Utah. Moderating the discussion is Natalie Gochnour, Director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

This forum was recorded on September 30, 2019.