Free Trade and the U.S. Election

2908273630_bd93cee6f3_zAs we approach the end of the 2016 presidential campaign in the United States, we explore one of the most heatedly discussed issues: international trade and the various trade deals the country has entered.

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s nominee, has been criticized by Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s nominee, for her support of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed in 1994 between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico by her husband, then-U.S. President Bill Clinton. During her tenure as Secretary of State under President Barack Obama, she spoke in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed deal between 12 countries of the Pacific Rim that has become a priority for the current administration.

Secretary Clinton now says NAFTA didn’t live up to its potential and will need to be renegotiated—a promise made by the Obama campaign in 2008, which his administration didn’t keep. She also says that the latest version of the TPP, which would cover 40% of the global economy with approximately 800 million consumers, doesn’t meet her “high bar” for “creat[ing] American jobs, rais[ing] wages and advanc[ing] our national security.”

Another proposed deal in the early stages of the negotiating process is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), between the European Union and the United States, covering a third of global trade.

Mr. Trump, on the other hand, has built his platform on a blanket rejection of free trade.

As the political tide seems to have turned toward protectionism, World Trade Organization Director General Roberto Azevedo has expressed concern about the anti-trade rhetoric on both sides of this campaign. With election day looming, what can we learn about trade deals, regional and global, and their long-term effects on participating economies, specifically on poverty, the environment, and public health? Do they result in net gains or net losses?

Learn more with these five articles, which we’ve made freely available:

Photo credit.