Biden, National Security, Law & Global Trade: Less Subterfuge & More Strategy in the New Era of Crisis



Stuart Malawer | Global Trade Relations

The US has entered a new era of crisis. President Biden has just been inaugurated. He faces historical challenges to return the US to global leadership. The primacy purpose of this article is to discuss national security and trade policy in the new Biden administration. First, I look at the historic and dubious claims made by the Trump administration in utilizing national security as a cover for protectionist trade actions, as well as at the federal court cases addressing these claims. I then assess the cases that have come before the WTO over the last two years, raising for first time the issue of the national security exception under GATT Article XXI. Finally, I conclude that President Biden’s overwhelming priority is to resurrect American democracy and alliances. But he will also need to address a broad range of trade issues and to restrict reliance on national security as a cover for populist and protectionist policies.


Stuart Malawer holds a Ph.D. from the Dept. of International Relations at the University of Pennsylvania (Graduate School and the Wharton School). He has a J.D. from the Cornell Law School and a Diploma from The Hague Academy of International Law (Research Centre). He also studied at the Harvard Law School and St. Peter’s College at Oxford University.

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