Protectionist Agenda

By Isaac Cohen*

The US Trade Representative Office, as mandated by law, has submitted to Congress the document containing the President’s 2017 trade agenda and the annual report on the trade agreements program. https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/files/reports/2017/AnnualReport/AnnualReport2017.pdf.

Anybody interested in US trade relations should read the first seven pages of the report, because they describe how the new administration intends to fulfill the campaign promise of putting “America First.” This objective requires the execution of a commercial policy to defend US sovereignty, by the strict enforcement of trade laws against those imports which may hurt domestic productive activities and to ensure that dispute settlements under the World Trade Organization do not add obligations or restrict rights.

The other component of this new defensive trade policy intends to use all possible leverage to ensure that markets are truly open to US exports of goods and services. For this purpose, new and better trade deals will be negotiated, with an emphasis on bilateral instead of multilateral instruments. The first signal of this new approach was the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The main justification for the adoption of this protectionist policy is the perception that the United States is at an unfair disadvantage in global markets, as illustrated by the persistent and increasing negative balance in the trade of manufactured goods.

*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio, UNIVISION, TELEMUNDO and other media. Former Director, UNECLAC Washington.

About Ramón Jiménez

Ramón Jiménez, actual Managing Editor de MetroLatinoUSA. Periodista que cubre eventos de las comunidades latinas en Washington D.C., Maryland y Virginia. Graduado de la Escuela de Periodismo de la Universidad del Distrito de Columbia. Galardonado en numerosas ocasiones por parte de la Asociación Nacional de Publicaciones Hispanas (NAHP) y otras organizaciones comunitarias y deportivas de la región metropolitana de esta capital. También premiado en dos ocasiones como Mejor Periodista del Año por la cobertura de la comunidad salvadoreña; premios otorgados por la Oficina de Asuntos Latinos del Alcalde de Washington (OLA) y otras organizaciones. Ha sido miembro del jurado calificador en diferentes concursos literarios, de belleza y talento en la región metropolitana. Ha visitado zonas de desastre en Nicaragua, Honduras y El Salvador e invitado a esos países por organizaciones que asisten a personas de escasos recursos económicos. Antes trabajó en otros medios de prensa de Virginia y Washington, D.C., incluyendo reportajes para una agencia noticiosa mundial.

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