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Peterson Perspectives: Interviews on Current Issues

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United States








Trade Talks Episode 55: Is India a Trade Troublemaker?

Keynes and Bown speak with Arvind Subramanian (PIIE, Harvard Kennedy School) about the massive changes in India’s trade policy since the 1980s. They examine the scope and impact of India’s trade liberalization; the importance of its manufacturing, agriculture, and services trade; its controversies within the WTO, and its own complex relationship with China. They also discuss Arvind’s time as chief economic adviser to the government of India and some of the challenges now confronting the...


Trade Talks Episode 54: Can Trump Withdraw from Trade Deals?

Keynes and Bown examine the legal arguments surrounding President Trump’s threats to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement and World Trade Organization. They speak with legal experts Gary Hufbauer (PIIE), Rachel Brewster (Duke Law School), and Joel Trachtman (Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy) about what constitutional arguments and legal precedent might—and might not—constrain a president from taking such an action without the approval of Congress.


Trade Talks Episode 53: Oh NAFTA—It’s Canada’s Turn

Keynes and Bown examine Canada's talks with the Trump administration over the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement. They speak with Meredith Lilly (Carleton University) and Madelaine Drohan (The Economist) about Canada's dairy supply management system, cultural exemptions, intellectual property for biologics, dispute resolution, and diversifying exports to lessen dependence on an unreliable US market.


Trade Talks Episode 52: NAFTA "Deal Fever"

Keynes and Bown examine the still murky details on autos and a potential sunset clause for the Mexico–United States trade agreement—which the Trump administration says is designed to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). They also discuss what’s next for the negotiations with Canada as well as how economists would evaluate whether any final deal is actually a good one.


Trade Talks Episode 51: Trade at the White House in Not So Normal Times

Soumaya Keynes and Chad Bown have a conversation with Jason Furman (PIIE, Harvard Kennedy School)—a former senior economic adviser of the Obama administration—about American economic policy. They ask Furman about economic and trade policy during the Great Recession, supporting displaced workers, US trade policy toward China, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and President Trump’s approach.


Trade Talks Episode 50: Aluminum Made in the USA

Soumaya Keynes and Chad Bown explore the aluminum industry: how to make it, changes in North American production over the past few decades, and the industry's real complaints. They discuss the Trump administration’s tariffs on imported aluminum with Heidi Brock of the American Aluminum Association, and Delphine Dahan-Kocher of Constellium.


Trade Talks Episode 49: Are Trump's Steel Quotas Worse than His Steel Tariffs?

Soumaya Keynes and Chad Bown describe how the Trump administration’s quotas imposed on steel imports from South Korea, Brazil, and Argentina are different from the simple application of tariffs. They speak with Ambassador Jennifer Hillman—former administrator of US quotas for textiles and apparel in the 1990s—and Aaron Padilla (American Petroleum Institute) to explain the structure of Trump’s quotas, the perverse economic incentives and unintended consequences they create, and the new...


Trade Talks Episode 48: Trump Buys the Farmers

Soumaya Keynes and Chad Bown explain the US government decision to offer up to $12 billion of subsidies to farmers adversely affected by trade retaliation stemming from President Trump’s tariffs on steel, aluminum, and China. They speak with Joe Glauber (IFPRI, former USDA) about US farm subsidies past and present, including the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act, as well as America’s legal commitments under the WTO to limit agricultural payouts.


Trade Talks Episode 47: WTO S.O.S.—Save our System

Keynes and Bown detail an emerging approach for the European Union, Japan, China—and the Trump administration—to resolve the conflict over subsidies, one of the most pressing challenges confronting the World Trade Organization. They explain the fight over industrial subsidies and analyze the EU-Japan-US approach to tackling problems of notifications, state-owned enterprises, excess capacity, and public bodies.


Trade Talks Episode 46: How Do Trump’s Tariffs Stack Up Historically?

Keynes and Bown compare President Donald Trump’s tariffs imposed to date—on solar panels, washing machines, steel, aluminum, and Chinese imports—with other major American protectionist episodes. They speak to economic historian Douglas A. Irwin (PIIE) about the Reagan administration’s protectionism in the 1980s, the 1971 Nixon shock, the 1960s US-Europe chicken war, and the 1930 Smoot-Hawley tariff.


Trade Talks Episode 45: Zeroing: The Biggest WTO Threat You've Never Heard Of

Soumaya Keynes (The Economist) and Chad P. Bown (PIIE) explain the outsized importance of “zeroing”—a technical, yet politically controversial method the United States uses to calculate antidumping tariffs. They speak to Thomas Prusa (Rutgers University) about zeroing’s contentious negotiating history, how it works in practice, who is in favor of it, and how much trade is affected by it. They also discuss how the dozens of WTO disputes the United States has lost over this issue set up the...


Trade Talks Episode 44: Brexit Two Years On

Soumaya Keynes of The Economist and PIIE Senior Fellow Chad P. Bown explain recent developments in the UK-EU trade talks on Britain’s departure from the European Union. At the two-year mark after the June 23, 2016 Leave referendum, they speak to Anand Menon (King’s College London) and Allie Renison (Institute of Directors) about progress in agreeing to a trade deal, outstanding issues, and lingering uncertainty facing UK businesses.


Trade Talks Episode 43: Costing Trump's China Tariffs

Soumaya Keynes of The Economist and PIIE Senior Fellow Chad P. Bown explain some implications of President Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on US imports from China starting July 6, 2018, which could escalate to cover $450 billion of American imports. They speak to Mary E. Lovely (PIIE) and Simon Rabinovitch (The Economist) about which companies will be affected and how China might retaliate beyond tit-for-tat tariffs.


Trade Talks Episode 42: Trump and Tariff Tweets: It’s More Complicated Than That

Bown and Keynes explain the nonreciprocal pattern of tariffs—and nontariff barriers—across countries highlighted by President Trump’s tweets and statements about high levels of tariff protection received by Canadian dairy farmers, automakers in Europe and China, and more.


Trade Talks Episode 41: Trump and China's "War of Saliva"

Chad P. Bown (PIIE) and Soumaya Keynes (The Economist) update developments in the Trump administration’s on-again, off-again trade war, and trade negotiations with China. They also speak to a number of people in Beijing to better understand the Chinese views.


Trade Talks Episode 40: Steel and Aluminum Tariffs: Trump versus Everyone

Chad P. Bown (PIIE) and Soumaya Keynes (The Economist) explain the economic implications of President Trump’s decision to apply steel and aluminum trade restrictions on virtually all US trading partners as of June 1, 2018. Countries have announced their plans to retaliate against billions of dollars of US exports, to file WTO trade disputes, and to potentially impose restrictions on their own imports of steel and aluminum.


Trade Talk Episode 39: Car Crash—Trump Sees More National Security Threats

Soumaya Keynes of The Economist and PIIE Senior Fellow Chad P. Bown talk with Kristin Dziczek (Center for Automotive Research) about President Trump’s new investigation into whether imports of autos threaten American national security. They discuss the implications of potential new tariffs for the NAFTA negotiations, as well as trade relations with the European Union and China.


Trade Talks Episode 38: ZTE, Trump, and China—What’s the Fuss?

Soumaya Keynes and Chad P. Bown discuss with Yuan Yang of the Financial Times how the US Commerce Department decision to sanction Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE—and its potential reversal by President Trump—affects the firm’s supply chain and Chinese and American jobs. They also discuss its impact on US-China trade negotiations and Beijing’s “Made in China 2025” industrial policy.


Trade Talks Episode 37: Cottoning on to Trade

Soumaya Keynes of The Economist and PIIE Senior Fellow Chad P. Bown talk with Professor Claudia Steinwender (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) about her research on the impact of the trans-Atlantic telegraph on trade. New information through the telegraph affected 1860s cotton price differences between New York and Liverpool, export volumes, and volatility. Claudia then describes how the telegraph affected trade differently at distinct points of the cotton textile supply chain,...


Trade Talks Episode 36: The Railroads Episode: America, India, and Intranational Trade

Soumaya Keynes of The Economist and PIIE Senior Fellow Chad P. Bown discuss with Dave Donaldson (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) his research on how massive railroad projects—across America in the late 1800s and colonial India in the early 1900s—affected trade costs, market access, intranational trade, and economic development. Professor Donaldson received the Johns Bates Clark Medal in 2017.