Our new web series, Wait Just a Minute, asks experts to answer complex questions about global affairs in 60 seconds. In this episode, former White House economic adviser under George W. Bush and the Council’s senior global economy fellow, answers questions in just 60 seconds about China’s trade practices, who wins in a trade war, and the likelihood of NAFTA surviving.
Explain free trade vs. fair trade.
Free trade is you've lowered trade barriers. Fair trade is you didn't like the outcome, and so you want to have somewhere to complain about it without sounding like a protectionist.
Does China play fair on trade?
China does a reasonable job of following the rules that are out there, but those aren't all the rules we'd like. So no, I think on the whole, they do not.
Is is possible to win a trade war?
No, it's not possible to win a trade war. It's the kind of thing where each side is going to end up doing damage to themselves and the other side.
Will NAFTA survive?
It's got a pretty good shot, I think. It hasn't died yet, despite the president's express desire to kill it. So I think there's hope. It ought to survive.
You down with TPP?
I think TPP would have been a great thing for the United States. I think it's hurting us that we're not involved in it. We're looking for leverage points against China. This would have been a great one.
What's your favorite acronym?
It's SPS, was sanitary and phytosanitary regulation. This is what really separates the trade geeks from everyone else.