Blog - Views on the Economy and the World

Views on the Economy and the World

A blog by Jeffrey Frankel

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For Academic Citation:Views on the Economy and the World,” Views on the Economy and the World, https://www.belfercenter.org/publication/views-economy-and-world.

282 posts

After NAFTA

| Oct. 12, 2018

Donald Trump thinks he once again pulled off a smashing victory on October 1, delivering on his oft-repeated campaign promise to terminate NAFTA, “the worst trade deal ever,“ and replace it with something much newer and better.  One is tempted to say to oneself, “Let him think that.”  The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement may not be an improvement over the status quo, but at least it is an improvement over the end to free trade in North America which he had threatened.

The US Treasury is due in October to submit its biannual report to Congress on what countries, if any, are manipulating their currencies to gain unfair trade advantage.   President Trump has recently resumed the accusation against China  that he made during the election campaign.   “I think China’s manipulating their currency, absolutely. And I think the euro is being manipulated also,” he told Reuters.  He is apparently pressuring the Treasury directly in its deliberations.

Apology Tour d'horizon

| July 26, 2018

American presidents are supposed to take America’s side when dealing with other countries. (“My country, right or wrong.”) When Barack Obama was (falsely) accused of starting his presidency with an “apology tour” of the Middle East, it was understood that apologizing to foreigners would have been a bad thing, if true. Last week Donald Trump received a lot of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for failing to take the side of his own intelligence services and law enforcement agencies when their findings ran counter to what his friend Vladimir Putin solemnly assured him to be the truth.

Even though US presidents are not supposed to apologize for their country, there is nothing that says that professors can’t. This column is an apology tour. The tour visits countries in alphabetical order.

Critics of President Trump’s aggressive trade policy have mostly gotten it right. His tariffs cause economic damage at home – raising the cost of living for American consumers, hurting industry, and taking foreign sales away from farmers and other exporters. Moreover the threats have been deployed erratically across trading partners and across time in ways that seem calculated to discourage cooperation with the US and rather to isolate the hitherto leader of the free world from even its closest allies.