Naval War College Workshop Examines the Future of US Trade Policy

Story Number: NNS180322-20Release Date: 3/22/2018 3:36:00 PM
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By Daniel S. Marciniak

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- The William B. Ruger chair of national security economics at U.S. Naval War College (NWC) hosted a workshop titled "U.S. Trade Policy: What Should the Future Be?" March 6-7.

The event, conducted in a nonpartisan, academic environment, was attended by academics, former trade officials and NWC faculty and students, and aimed to gain a better understanding of previous trade policy and explore what future U.S. policy might look like.

"Since the 1930s, the U.S. has generally supported free trade," said John A. Cloud, the conference chair and former U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Lithuania. "The U.S. is now looking at a fundamental change in this approach, which may lead to a change in how we look at our friends and allies. As such, it merits analysis and understanding."

Over the course of the event, there was much discussion on how the public views trade.

While Pew Research suggests that the plurality of Americans support free trade, their research also shows that trade is not a high priority for the majority of Americans.

"[I was] surprised by the depth of the resonance that an anti-trade agenda had with the voting public," said one of the workshop participants.

There was also considerable discussion about China's new role in the international trading system, which has evolved since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Additionally, the workshop discussed the costs and benefits of some of the previous U.S. free trade agreements - particularly the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Participants hoped the outcome of the renegotiations would be a "better, updated NAFTA."

"I chose trade policy for this year's theme because I have extensive background in the subject and it is an area of potentially major policy change," said Cloud. "The desired outcome was to gain a greater understanding of the weaknesses of previous trade policies and implications for the future."

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