Obama on Trade

By Staff Editor | May 17, 2017

US President-elect Barack Obama is widely hailed as representing a new, more humble American approach to the rest of the world. He has been hailed in many nations as a visionary of globalization and more receptive to collaboration with a wider range of partners.

But does this necessarily mean he’ll encourage free trade?

His voting record is actually far more protectionist than one might think. For instance, he has come down in favor of a variety of tarrifs on goods imported into the US. He’s also been known to use withholding of trade as a lever to enforce other values such as human rights, as in the case of Columbia, or to punish other nations for manipulating their currencies, as in the case of China.

So although he has been hailed as the embodiment of global progress, there is reason to be concerned that, especially during tough times, he may adopt a more isolationist economic policy in order to benefit us US businesses and workers. Whether this policy will be effective or backfire remains to be seen.

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