Trump’s Tariffs Sideline the U.S., as Asia Presses Ahead With Free Trade Deals

Trump’s Tariffs Sideline the U.S., as Asia Presses Ahead With Free Trade Deals
A worker loads imported goods on a truck at a distribution company outside the container port in Qingdao, China, Oct. 14, 2019 (Chinatopix photo via AP Images).

President Donald Trump’s trade policy made a lot of headlines in 2019, particularly his trade war with China and his constant threats to impose tariffs on close U.S. partners and allies. But while America under Trump heads in a protectionist direction, 15 countries in the Asia-Pacific are putting the finishing touches on the world’s largest free trade area, known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. RCEP, as the deal is known, is just one sign that the U.S. is increasingly “on the outside looking in” when it comes to multilateral trade agreements, according to former U.S. trade negotiator Wendy Cutler.

For this week’s interview on Trend Lines, she joins WPR’s Elliot Waldman for a conversation about Trump’s trade policy, the major trade-related developments of 2019 and the big stories to watch in the coming year. Cutler served for nearly three decades as a U.S. diplomat and trade negotiator, most recently as acting deputy U.S. trade representative. She’s currently the vice president and managing director of the Washington, D.C., office at the Asia Society Policy Institute.

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Relevant Articles on WPR:
Can the Limited U.S.-China Trade Deal Move Past ‘Phase One’?
On Trade, Trump Had a Rocky Year. Will 2020 Be Any Different?
Trump’s Trade Deals Can’t Fix What He Has Broken
Is Trump About to Bring Down the WTO?

Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.

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