In both political and military battles there are casualties. During this election season, one of the most notable casualties is free trade.
The bipartisan piling on — slamming NAFTA, TPP, WTO and single nations (mainly China, Mexico, and Japan) — is without precedent. As for proponents of free trade, their silence is deafening—fearful of retaliation by a public whose rudimentary understanding of international commerce would fill half a thimble.
Business and government leaders in trade-dependent cities on both coasts and the borders with Canada and Mexico are especially concerned, as well as perplexed that so many of their citizens are supporting candidates who espouse protectionism and isolationism. (Talking about shooting oneself in the foot.)
Ironically (and happily) the anti-trade minions are not anti-foreign direct investment—as long as that investment is inward bound, not outward bound. And fortuitously, whatever the national and congressional outcomes in November, inward flows of investment will continue unfettered.
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