Trade

Trump's Impact on the World: Christina L. Davis on Trade

Harvard Professor Christina L. Davis discusses President Trump's strategies on trade—some of which may not be as outlandish as many people think.

Image of Christina Davis

This is the first blog post in a series of edited transcripts from a panel on Trump's presidency held during our orientation in August 28, 2018. Our three panelists were Christina L. Davis, Melani Cammett, and Timothy Colton.

Since the panel took place, Mexico, Canada and the United States reached an agreement to restructure and revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement. Now renamed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, the trade accord includes, for example, some help for the US dairy and drug industries, stricter protections for autos made in North America, updated intellectual property rights, and improved labor rights and environmental protections. Legislatures of all three countries must ratify the new deal.

This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

Talk delivered by Christina L. Davis:

It’s another interesting day in the study of trade.

I still don't follow Twitter, but I do check the news before I come to talk about trade. I think we're in NAFTA, but just barely, today. So the latest news is the US supposedly has some deal with Mexico. They're going to tell Canada, you can join, or you don't have to. And we're ripping up NAFTA. And this will be the best trade deal ever.

It's really amazing studying trade policy because this is one area where Trump has been fairly consistent. Since the 1980s, Donald Trump has been anti-trade. And it's also one of the areas where he's delivering beyond the rhetoric.... Read more about Trump's Impact on the World: Christina L. Davis on Trade

Striking a Balance: Straight Talk on the Global Economy

Harvard economist Dani Rodrik details the downside of hyperglobalization, and calls for a better balance between global rules and national autonomy.

Image of shipping containers

by Michelle Nicholasen

For more than two decades, economist Dani Rodrik has warned about the dangers of what he has called “hyperglobalization.” He has long argued that national economies and domestic policies should have priority amidst a rising tide of unfettered globalization and open markets. Today we have some evidence that he was right. Our race toward “one world economy” has produced consequences in the form of global social inequality and populist or extremist political movements, for example. Rodrik envisions a way to keep bringing down trade barriers while maintaining the integrity of the nation-state. His latest book, Straight Talk on Trade, is a synthesis of his monthly columns for Project Syndicate, and functions as a roadmap of Rodrik’s prolific analyses. The Weatherhead Center spoke to him about his long view on world economies.... Read more about Striking a Balance: Straight Talk on the Global Economy

Now That TPP Is off the Table, What's Next for NAFTA?

Political economist Marc Melitz weighs in on what the United States has to lose when trade agreements come undone.

Graphic of NAFTA auto industry imports and exports

After President Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement earlier this year, it seemed that NAFTA was next in his crosshairs.

But soon President Trump is expected to take a measured approach to the issue of trade and step away—at least temporarily—from his threats to dismantle the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by signing an executive order calling for a comprehensive study of US trade imbalances. The Trump worldview has consistently blamed foreign trade deficits, especially those with China, for job losses here at home. He has wanted to take down NAFTA to purportedly save American jobs, calling it “the single worst trade deal ever approved in this country.”... Read more about Now That TPP Is off the Table, What's Next for NAFTA?