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Beware danger of US anti-free-trade rhetoric becoming government policy

Published Tue, Apr 12, 2016 · 09:50 PM

BLAMING America's trade partners for the nation's economic woes and demanding to punish them have become rituals of sorts in US presidential campaigns.

In the 1980s, presidential candidates accused Japan of "stealing American jobs". The recent presidential campaigns have featured mainly China as the target for denunciations. These are usually followed by pledges to retaliate against the purported trade villain and by the typical protectionist rhetoric.

America's economic partners have got accustomed to the election season's protectionist bombast and tended to express their confidence that, after entering the White House, the free-trade-bashing presidential candidate would be transformed into a proponent of trade liberalisation.

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