U.S. President Donald Trump holds a tariff table as he speaks in the Cabinet Room of the White House on Jan. 24, 2019. Reducing tariffs might play well to the gallery, but it's not the be-all and end-all of a trade battle.
Can turning back the clock to the 1930s achieve a 21st-century trade win? That might be the question on everyone's lips as the White House aims to significantly increase the president's authority over U.S. tariffs by asking Congress during next week's State of the Union address to pass the Reciprocal Trade Act. But the push by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump for increased trade barriers has spurred the rest of the world to strive for comprehensive agreements that avoid dallying on tariffs in favor of addressing more significant nontariff barriers. All of it begs the question: By focusing simply on bilateral trade balances, tariffs and obstructing imports, does the United States risk losing out as the rest of the world surpasses it in terms of trade? ...
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