CFR Presents

Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

Trump and the TPP: Giving Away Something for Nothing

by Edward Alden Monday, January 23, 2017
Opponents of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement protest outside of the White House in Washington (Gary Cameron/Reuters). Opponents of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement protest outside of the White House in Washington (Gary Cameron/Reuters).

President Donald Trump likes to claim that he is a smart negotiator. “He’s an amazing negotiator, probably the best in this world,” his attorney Michael Cohen boasted during the campaign. “He will deal with trade and deal with issues.” Read more »

Taking on Trump: A Lesson from the Japanese

by Edward Alden Friday, January 13, 2017
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses media following a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump in Manhattan, New York, U.S. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters). Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses media following a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump in Manhattan, New York, U.S. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters).

Having watched Japan in trade negotiations with the United States for more than a quarter century now, I would never have described the Japanese approach as direct. When confronted with a difficult trade negotiating problem, they always tended to obfuscate, delay and otherwise try to muddy the waters. Read more »

Trumponomics: Can He Move Beyond Bluster to a Competitiveness Policy?

by Edward Alden Monday, December 12, 2016
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Vice-President Elect Mike Pence tour a Carrier factory in Indianapolis, Indiana (Mike Segar/Reuters). U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Vice-President Elect Mike Pence tour a Carrier factory in Indianapolis, Indiana (Mike Segar/Reuters).

It was hard not to root for President-elect Donald Trump when he went to the Carrier air conditioning factory in Indianapolis to announce a deal to save about 800 jobs the company had planned to move to Mexico. For those who have not watched it, the video that surfaced during the election—in which a company manager tells assembled workers their jobs will be sacrificed to “stay competitive and protect the business for the long term”—is a film noir of heartless corporate greed in an open global economy. Read more »

Donald Trump and the New Economic Order

by Michael Spence Tuesday, November 29, 2016
A TV screen showing Donald Trump is pictured in front of the German share price index (Kai Pfaffenbach). A TV screen showing Donald Trump is pictured in front of the German share price index (Kai Pfaffenbach).

HONG KONG – Since the end of World War II, the hierarchy of economic priorities has been relatively clear. At the top was creating an open, innovative, and dynamic market-driven global economy, in which all countries can (in principle) thrive and grow. Coming in second – one might even say a distant second – was generating vigorous, sustainable, and inclusive national growth patterns. No more. Read more »

Trump and U.S. Trade Policy: What’s Known is Scary, What’s Not May be Worse

by Edward Alden Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Donald Trump gestures while delivering a speech at the Alumisourse Building in Monessen, Pennsylvania, U.S., June 28, 2016 (Reuters). Donald Trump gestures while delivering a speech at the Alumisourse Building in Monessen, Pennsylvania, U.S., June 28, 2016 (Reuters).

For the past two decades, the central question in U.S. trade policy has been whether the government could continue to move forward in liberalizing trade. The answer was usually yes, but slowly. For the next four years, following the election of Donald Trump as president, the central question will be a different one: will the United States move backwards on trade, and if so how fast and with what consequences? Read more »

Failure to Adjust: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy

by Edward Alden Wednesday, November 2, 2016
failure-to-adjust-alden

I am delighted to announce the publication of my new book, Failure to Adjust: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy, which is the product of nearly four years of research and a quarter century spent as a reporter and policy analyst covering the ups and downs of America’s trade policies. As my friend and former reporting colleague Bruce Stokes of the Pew Research Institute said recently, for those of us who have labored in the obscure details of U.S. trade negotiations for decades, it has been astonishing to see trade become one of the hot-button issues of the 2016 presidential election. It is even more astonishing to see a Republican presidential candidate running on an openly protectionist platform, and to see a Democratic internationalist like Hillary Clinton running away from her record on trade. Read more »

How Inequality Found a Political Voice

by Michael Spence Tuesday, November 1, 2016
A voter peels off an "I Voted" sticker after voting (Chris Keane/Reuters). A voter peels off an "I Voted" sticker after voting (Chris Keane/Reuters).

MILAN – It took a long time for widening inequality to have an impact on politics, as it suddenly has done in recent years. Now that it is a central issue, national economic priorities will need to shift substantially to create more equitable, inclusive economies and societies. If they do not, people could embrace explosive alternatives to their current governments, such as the populist movements now sweeping many countries. Read more »

A Muslim Travel Ban and the U.S. Economy

by Edward Alden Friday, October 7, 2016
U.S. Customs and Immigration officers await travelers (Mike Blake/Reuters). U.S. Customs and Immigration officers await travelers (Mike Blake/Reuters).

Republican candidate Donald Trump has said that, if elected, he would use the expansive powers of the president to block foreign Muslims from traveling to the United States. As an alternative, he has suggested he might block all travel from countries “compromised by terrorism.” Again, this would be well within his powers as president. This week, his vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence said Trump no longer favored either approach, though Trump himself has not suggested any softening. Read more »

Restoring Support for International Trade

by Guest Blogger for Edward Alden Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak at their first presidential debate (Mike Segar/Reuters). Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak at their first presidential debate (Mike Segar/Reuters).

This is a guest post by John Veroneau, partner at Covington & Burling LLP and former deputy U.S. trade representative. He was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations Independent Task Force on U.S. Trade and Investment Policy. Read more »