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U.S. President Donald Trump, center, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at a signing ceremony for the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 30, 2018 (AP photo).

Trump’s Phantom Deals Show the ‘Tariff Man’ Is Clueless on Trade Policy

Monday, Dec. 10, 2018

President Donald Trump has announced a number of trade deals this year, touting each one as the best, greatest, most wonderful agreement ever. Time after time, however, the reality fell far short of Trump’s hype, including the most recent announcement of an agreement with China. Indeed, the announced “agreements” with Europe, Japan and China merely began the process of negotiating. And far from replacing the “worst trade deal ever,” the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement mainly updates and tweaks the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

One thing none of these agreements accomplished was to get rid of the tit-for-tat tariffs with these trading partners, including the only substantive deal of the lot with Canada and Mexico. Trump’s trade truces are better than the alternative of further escalation, of course. But despite what Trump keeps asserting about tariffs making America rich, it is Americans who are paying billions of dollars in higher tariffs and losing sales on exports. Perhaps Trump, a self-described “Tariff Man,” just likes tariffs more than he likes negotiating real solutions. ...

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