Opinion: How Trump Should Address Unfair Trade With China



Robert E. Scott | The New York Times

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump cited my research prominently when making the case that unfair trade with China had grievously hurt workers in the United States. It wasn’t the first time my research had been referenced during a political campaign; Hillary Clinton cited it in a similar manner in 2007. But it was the first time my data informed a subsequent executive branch policy that I view with dismay: namely, the Trump administration’s heavy-handed approach to trade, which has involved imposing $250 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods.

The president’s tariff approach ignores a more significant problem — the currency misalignment of the dollar and the Chinese yuan — and so could end up doing more harm than good.

Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign sought to channel the anger of many Americans over unfair trade. I understand this anger, having documented in my research the millions of manufacturing jobs lost in the United States as a result of flawed trading relationships with China and Mexico. But rhetoric doesn’t always equal insight, and the president’s approach ignores two key facts.

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