May 13, 2019

ICYMI: Let’s make free trade truly free, starting with Japan

Post by Freedom Partners

Freedom Partners Executive Vice President Nathan Nascimento | The Hill

After more than a year of tariff disputes dominating the headlines, there is finally reason for a little optimism about U.S. trade policy.

News that the United States and Japan are moving forward with talks for a bilateral trade agreement is a welcome development for the millions of Americans – including farmers, business owners and consumers – suffering from a host of protectionist policies (withdrawal from Trans-Pacific Partnership, tariffs on steel and aluminum, those imposed on Chinese goods, and those imposed by other countries in retaliation).

[A] free trade agreement with Japan would be a boon to the American economy and signal a welcome new direction from Washington on trade.

A trade agreement is only helpful, however, if it is truly free. The negotiations with Japan must be guided by two key principles.

First, the goal of the talks should be to eliminate all existing tariffs.

Second, in addition to eliminating tariffs, the talks should focus on getting rid of the many non-tariff barriers that exist in both the United States and Japan.

The lesson of the last two years is clear: trade barriers don’t work. The time has come to change direction on trade policy, and the upcoming negotiations with Tokyo are the perfect place to start.

Nathan Nascimento is executive vice president of Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce.