U.S. Trade Policy

March 30, 2018 • Volume 28, Issue 12
Can tariffs restore manufacturing jobs?
By Reed Karaim


Randy Spronk, a past president of the National Pork Producers Council (Cover: AP Photo/Minnesota Public Radio/Mark Steil)
Randy Spronk, a past president of the National Pork Producers Council, raises hogs at his farm near Edgerton, Minn. U.S. farmers who depend heavily on exports worry that President Trump's protectionist measures against China, the second-largest market for U.S. farm exports, will hurt their businesses. After Trump announced new tariffs on Chinese products in March, China threatened to impose tariffs on U.S. pork, steel pipe and other exports. (Cover: AP Photo/Minnesota Public Radio/Mark Steil)

President Trump has broken with decades of U.S. trade policy in a bid to protect American industries from foreign competition, sparking fears of a punishing trade war. Trump has announced $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports, demanded changes in a long-standing trade pact with Mexico and Canada and removed the United States from multilateral Asian trading negotiations. The administration says the changes in trade policy are necessary to restore manufacturing decimated by low-cost competitors overseas, where wages are far lower than in the United States and governments sometimes subsidize private industry to give them an edge in global markets. Trump's tariff targets include cheap steel and aluminum imports, which have led to layoffs and plant closures in those industries in the United States. But critics say the administration is ignoring the benefits of free trade, arguing that lowering trade barriers has expanded global commerce and spurred greater prosperity here and abroad.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Jobs and Skills
Feb. 04, 2022  The New Labor Market
Sep. 17, 2021  Career Change
Aug. 28, 2020  The Nature of Work
Sep. 21, 2018  Labor Shortage Debate
Mar. 30, 2018  U.S. Trade Policy
Oct. 04, 2013  Worker Safety
Mar. 02, 2012  Attracting Jobs
Jul. 22, 2011  Reviving Manufacturing
Jun. 04, 2010  Jobs Outlook
Feb. 20, 2004  Exporting Jobs
Jan. 11, 2002  Future Job Market
Apr. 24, 1998  High-Tech Labor Shortage
Oct. 24, 1997  Contingent Work Force
Feb. 28, 1992  Jobs in the '90s
Jun. 27, 1986  America's Service Economy
Jul. 22, 1983  Technology and Employment
Dec. 10, 1969  Jobs for the Future
Jun. 21, 1967  World Competition for Skilled Labor
Sep. 03, 1965  Shortage of Skills
Oct. 31, 1962  Retraining for New Jobs
Nov. 28, 1956  Shortage of Critical Skills
Bilateral and Regional Trade
Economic Analyses, Forecasts, and Statistics
Export Sanctions and Restrictions
Exports and Imports
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
General Employment and Labor
Import Quotas and Customs
International Economic Development
International Law and Agreements
Manufacturing and Industrial Production
Motor Vehicle Industry
Motor Vehicles
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
Outsourcing and Immigration
Party Politics
Powers and History of the Presidency
Regulation and Deregulation
Retail Trade
Unions and Labor-Management Relations
World Trade Organization (WTO)