April 3 | By: Max Ehrenfreund.
After a campaign defined in large part by a pledge to turn the nation’s trade agenda on its head, President Trump has opened his presidency with a series of modest, more cautious steps — leaving protectionists and free-trade advocates alike wondering if Trump is ramping up to delivering on his promises or pulling back from them entirely.
A draft letter from the administration to Congress that leaked this week called for maintaining the North American Free Trade Agreement largely as it currently exists — after Trump during the campaign called the agreement the “the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere.”
On Thursday night, Trump’s commerce secretary announced a set of small-bore duties on a few specific types of imported steel plate — and then went on cable television the next morning to proclaim that the United States is in a “trade war” with the world.
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