Mr. Trump seems to want to move the U.S. toward China’s approach, rather than move China toward the U.S. approach of open trade and globalization. He seems to want the U.S. to be more like China than China to be more like the U.S. And I’m not sure that’s the best path for the U.S. to go down.
If the Trump administration follows through on the proposals in this document, it would be a body blow to the multinational trade system that the U.S. has helped to build up. The WTO will lose effectiveness and credibility in trade resolutions if the U.S. decides to walk away.
Tariffs on imports from China will not serve as a magic wand that brings back lost jobs. Rather, such tariffs could end up inflicting collateral damage on U.S. businesses and hurting job growth in companies that have built international supply chains.
Trump made the case that only he could effect change by blowing up the system. Modi, in the same way, did have a persuasive narrative that small changes at the margins can’t tackle deep-rooted problems like corruption. We needed big and painful changes, really disruptive ones.