Trump And Trade: The Point Of No Return? : The Indicator from Planet Money President Trump has kept his protectionist promises, but his scorched earth approach to dealmaking could have damaged global trading relationships for good.

Trump And Trade: The Point Of No Return?

Trump And Trade: The Point Of No Return?

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Damir Sagolj/Reuters
President Trump is due to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Japan this weekend, raising hopes the two leaders might call a truce in their trade war.
Damir Sagolj/Reuters

The Trump Administration has, over time, developed what is essentially a two-prong attack on global trade: first by challenging global institutions like the World Trade Organization that oversee the rules by which countries trade with each other, and second by waging a brutal trade war with China.

Most observers have assumed that this approach was part of a larger negotiating strategy by the Trump administration; part of a push to strike deals that would make it easier to sell American-made goods to other countries, and also make it easier for U.S. companies to do business abroad.

But what if this approach has damaged the global trading system beyond repair? Today we talk with Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, who posed this question recently in an article in Foreign Affairs, and wonders if the Trump Administration may have scorched the earth of global trade to everyone's detriment, including the U.S.

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