Trade is an issue of growing importance that lies at the intersection of two of the biggest concerns facing the American people: the economy and foreign policy. Today, trade policy affects more issues on the U.S. political agenda than ever before; at the same time, the decisions Washington makes have a great impact on the United States and the world.
This Critical Policy Choice, in the form of a memorandum to the president, suggests two distinct approaches that the United States could take on trade policy. The first approach—“Free Trade”—argues that American prosperity and security are best served by aggressively seeking to lower trade barriers, even if it means that some industries lose out. The second approach—“Fair Trade”—contends that the economic benefits of freer trade are overstated and that the U.S. government should slow or even halt efforts to lower trade barriers in order to promote goals such as community stability and income security. The policy options in this book are accompanied by four white papers that examine the major issues in the trade debate and explore the relevant challenges in greater detail.