The U.S. Shouldn’t Use Trade Talks to Get Kenya to Scrap Its Plastics Ban

A man scavenges for pieces of plastic at a dump in the Dandora slum of Nairobi, Kenya, Dec. 5, 2018 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).
A man scavenges for pieces of plastic at a dump in the Dandora slum of Nairobi, Kenya, Dec. 5, 2018 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

Though changes in trade policy create winners and losers within a given country, the net effect of lowering import tariffs is generally positive for the country’s economy as a whole. Now, however, tariffs are already low, so the trade agenda involves mostly addressing regulatory and other “technical” barriers to trade generated by countries’ domestic policies, with a core principle of international trade rules being to ensure that these domestic policies do not discriminate against imports. But using legally binding trade agreements to influence the substance of policies that apply to both imports and domestic products alike can create friction between […]

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