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Trade Balances and the NAFTA Renegotiation

C. Fred Bergsten

No PB17-23, Policy Briefs from Peterson Institute for International Economics

Abstract: The Trump administration’s strategy toward trade agreements in general, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in particular, is fundamentally misplaced for two reasons: (1) its apparent desire to use trade policy rather than macroeconomic policy including exchange rate policy to reduce trade imbalances and (2) its focus on the bilateral rather than global scope of those imbalances. Bergsten outlines the dangerous and self-defeating implications for the negotiation of such an unusual approach. Accordingly, provisions that could be included in the agreement to pursue that purpose are not likely to be feasible.

Date: 2017-06
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