Report: Why Rules-Based Trade Remains Critical to Manufacturing Health
International trade hasn’t been this contentious since before the Great Depression and is causing free traders much concern. We’ve seen a number of trade cases impact some U.S. import such that the U.S. steel industry effectively implemented a full ground stop on many steel products (though that ground stop has been short-lived).
This administration’s stance on trade has helped galvanize both the case for and against trade. These arguments center around several themes primarily around the notion that China’s loss is U.S. value-added manufacturers’ gain - if China chooses to “dump” its products at a loss, then shouldn’t value-added manufacturers take the opportunity to purchase [steel and/or other commodities] to increase their overall cost competitiveness on finished goods? Policy wonks suggest that trade remedies should be evaluated on the basis of an increase in economic welfare within the United States.
These arguments appear persuasive from the outset, yet the lines between upstream and downstream manufacturing have blurred.