Rethinking Free Trade

5 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2018

See all articles by William J. Dodwell

William J. Dodwell

Consultant to Financial Institutions

Date Written: May 23, 2018


President Trump has awakened even some diehard free trade advocates to genuine inequities in U.S. trade agreements that dampen economic growth through suppressed export revenue and inflated import costs. While some protective provisions may be justified because of certain economic structural differences between trade partners and legitimate national security concerns, the U.S. should challenge excesses that seriously undermine the classic principle of comparative advantage. Too many fear a sustained trade war would ensue from such action but that is unlikely because the costs are too severe for all parties, notwithstanding temporary brinkmanship. Now that grossly one-sided agreements have been exposed, the time for corrective action is now through some serious saber rattling that will result in some semblance of fair trade.

Keywords: free trade, fair trade, trade inequities, comparative advantage

Suggested Citation

Dodwell, William J., Rethinking Free Trade (May 23, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

William J. Dodwell (Contact Author)

Consultant to Financial Institutions ( email )

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