Arguments against International Trade

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Does trade harm workers by reducing the number of jobs in the U.S.? Is it wrong to trade with countries that use child labor? Is it important to keep a certain number of jobs at home for national security reasons? Can strategic protectionism increase well-being in the U.S.?

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Some of the most common arguments against international trade:

Trade reduces the number of jobs in the U.S.

It is wrong to trade with countries that use child labor.

We need to keep certain jobs at home for national security.

We need to keep certain ‘key” industries at home because of beneficial spillovers.

We can increase U.S. well-being with strategic protectionism.

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Trade restrictions waste resources by transferring production from low-cost foreign producers to high-cost domestic producers.

Trade restrictions prevent domestic consumers from exploiting trade gains.

Some arguments for trade restrictions are valid but of limited applicability.

The tariff impact of a large country that can affect the world price of its imported goods may result in net domestic benefits.

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