01 February 2018

Richard Baldwin: no need to fear a global trade war

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With Donald Trump’s “America First” doctrine grabbing headlines at the World Economic Forum, how worried should we be about global trade fragmenting or collapsing?

“I’m personally not worrying”, said Professor Richard Baldwin, co-Director of the Graduate Institute’s Centre on Trade and Economic Integration and author of The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization (2016). “United States trade policy is not the outcome of a presidential announcement here or there. The real power to control trade lies with Congress, and it’s the outcome of a hard-fought, internal political battle. American business doesn’t want to fight with China, they want to import and export, and they have aligned so far to keep Trump from doing something really crazy.”

“It’s cheap to talk tough, but I don’t think American business will let him do more. In today’s world of supply chains, tariffs don’t protect, they destroy.”

Listen to the full conversation between Richard Baldwin and Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times below, and watch Richard discussing globalisation with the World Economic Forum’s Mike Hanley.

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