President Trump was right to impose tariffs this week to fight back against unfair trade practices by countries like China, Mexico and South Korea. This is likely the first of several big changes to the global trade order this year.
The new tariffs are a response to Chinese dumping of solar panels in the United States. The Chinese-manufactured panels were sold at below-market prices in order to put American competitors out of business.
Opponents of the trade remedies wasted no time in reacting. Anti-Trump Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska said the action amounted to “taxes on families.” China’s commerce ministry said President Trump’s decision to fight back was an “abuse of trade remedy measures.” South Korea’s left-wing government said it would “actively respond to U.S. trade protectionism.”
Expect domestic mavens of free trade to be far shriller in the coming days. But as the plain facts of misconduct by China and other countries prove, we haven’t had “free trade” – even if the global elite uses that label. Instead, we have trade deals and practices that are stacked against the United States, leading in part to a trade deficit that annually exceeds half a trillion dollars.
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