In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross reminds U.S. trading partners with sizeable surpluses that trade flows in not one, but two directions.
Pushing back against assessments that U.S. trade policy is turning inward, Ross shifts the protectionist spotlight toward the policies, tariffs and regulations of key trade partners have put American workers, goods and services at a disadvantage – unfairly so. Free and fair trade, he argues, must address such non-tariff barriers that likely contribute to trade deficits. He further maintains that U.S. demands for a level playing field under these circumstances are driven by equity, not protectionism.
In addition to providing important insight on the Administration’s trade policy, the piece highlights Ross’s and the Commerce Department’s prominent role in an area, where traditionally, USTR has taken the lead. It also makes an important link between trade barriers and significant trade deficits – the latter being a subject of intense focus and review by the Administration pursuant to an Executive Order, and apparent trigger for examining key trade relationships.