Trump claims to be a free trader who wants to eliminate tariffs altogether as well as industry subsidies and non-tariff trade barriers across countries. He proposes higher tariffs to eliminate them.

Making Sense of Trump's No Tariff Call

Please consider Making Sense of President Trump’s Call for Zero Tariffs.

>Is that no-tariff objective serious after all that Mr. Trump has said in favor of them?


>Probably not. As recent talks with Europe help show, most nations have industries they are determined to protect—including the U.S.—which makes it hard even for the most ardent free traders to level the global trading field completely. It is one reason the global trade deals that do exist are so complex and often uneven, and why they are likely to stay that way.

>The U.S. initially pushed the zero-tariff line in recent talks with Europe, but both sides quickly watered it down.

>The U.S. insisted that automotive trade be exempted from the talks, even though the U.S. is pushing Europe to eliminate its car tariffs and has threatened tariffs as high as 25% on European car imports, if they don’t.

>The reason vehicles aren’t in the talks: The U.S. auto industry itself relies on 25% tariffs to protect U.S. trucks from import competition, and the Trump administration wanted to preserve that. The European Union, on the other hand, blocked U.S. efforts to consider agricultural subsidies because it wanted to preserve the Common Agricultural Policy, which relies on subsidies. Also off the table: U.S. “Buy America” provisions, which block foreign firms from government contracts.

Looking for a free trade advocate? Look in this direction, not at Trump. He's a free trade hypocrite.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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Reflections and Reader Comments on Free Trade: “China Doesn’t Play Fair!”

Reader Cathy, a member of the US Military Intelligence Brigade pinged me about free trade.

Fool's Mission: Repercussions Mount but Trade War Really Just Starting

Despite mounting repercussions of Trump's misguided trade war, insiders suggest the trade wars are just starting.

Trump Provides Clarity to EU: "Big Deficit We Tax Cars"

The EU wants clarity of US tariffs. Trump provides clarity, but the EU is not happy with it.

Seeds Sown for Major Transatlantic Trade War Starting in May

Trump wants a trade treaty with the EU to include agriculture. France says no. It only takes one.

Trump Wants a “See-Through Wall”: He Will Choose the Design Personally

Trump wants a “great wall” on the US-Mexican border that Mexico will pay for.

Trump and Juncker Supposedly Agree to Trade Deal: Lies All Around

The US and EU agree to resolve trade differences. Color me skeptical as to how long this lasts and what happens next.

Europe's Nationalism and Trump's Trade Policies Look Like WWI Prelude

In conversations with friends, one thought the current political scene was like the prelude to WWII. Another said WWI.