Managed trade is not free trade

I don’t think I am reading this chart wrong. It’s from The Australian in its front page story today: Free-trade rollback to hit jobs, pay. And there are all the benefits, such as the rise in real wages, which was an aggregate rise of 7.4 percent over a period of 34 years, that is, from 1986 through to the projected level in 2020. That is, around 0.2% per annum, which is a rounding error.

Let me just contrast this with Donald Trump today in Tokyo: Trump Slams Unfair Trade With Japan, Defends TPP Pullout.

President Donald Trump told a gathering of business leaders in Tokyo that Japan has an unfair advantage on trade and that he intends to fix that imbalance by making it easier to do business in the U.S.

“For the last many decades, Japan has been winning. You do know that,” he said Monday. “Right now our trade with Japan is not fair and it isn’t open.”

Trump laid out his complaints about how Japan treats the U.S. unfairly in his eyes, noting that few American cars are sold in Japan and making a plea for Japanese automakers to build more in the U.S.

“Try building your cars in the United States instead of shipping them over. That’s not too much to ask,” Trump said. “Is that rude to ask?”

As for the TPP, PDT added this.

“TPP was not the right idea,” Trump said on Monday. “I’m sure some of you in this room disagree, but ultimately I’ll be proven right.”

Trump said he envisions easing trade restrictions in another way, outside the TPP framework, but offered few details beyond saying that he personally had the power to speed business deals that had been hung up in the past.

He cited the Keystone and Dakota pipelines that he been held up under the Obama administration. “In my first week, I approved both,” Trump said.

Trump also took credit for recent record stock market highs and an addition 2 million workers in the workforce, saying: “I’ve reduced regulations terrifically if I do say so myself.”

Free trade is easy if you really want it. Just cut all trade barriers in your own home market and watch all the benefits roll in. What benefits are they? I will leave that to others.

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