In Search of a Trade Policy

Hard-liners vs. soft-liners vs. just about everyone else

Modern international trade floats on a sea of dilemmas, steered by contradictions. Official U.S. policy has been to encourage free trade since the first Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act in 1934. But in practice trade has never been totally without restriction. It has been fettered by quotas, tariffs and political considerations. That is the reality the Reagan Administration is confronting as it searches for a trade policy that combines consistency and fairness.

The vague outlines of the policy are now beginning to take shape. In a 15-page...

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