For the Sake of Free Trade

Among others, the New York Times is reporting a dramatic political shift on “free trade”.   As a 40-year practitioner in trade policy, I welcome this development and at the same time fear it.

I welcome it because the “free trade” brand is bankrupt.   It has served largely to promote offshoring by combining tariff elimination (the result […]

By |July 30th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments


Under the headline “The Business Elite Is Feeling Betrayed”, The New York Times July 15 print edition reported that the Business Roundtable and other lobbying powerhouses are distressed by the impending nominations of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In particular, the Roundtable laments the candidates’ shared skepticism about “free trade.”   This complaint begs three questions:

–Is […]

By |July 17th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments


As an addendum to my previous post, I came across this morning a helpful quote from Henry George’s “Protectionism or Free Trade” printed 130 years ago:

“Trade is not invasion.  It does not involve aggression on one side and resistance on the other, but mutual consent and gratification.  There cannot be a trade unless the parties […]

By |June 12th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments


Ironically, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are now suspected of big government tendencies. There is one small step either one could advocate to gain a little credibility with skeptics of government and everything else seen as being “big.”

The idea comes from my friend and outstanding entrepreneur Alan Uke. As a college student in San […]

By |June 10th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments


It’s a sad to see the US treasury secretary “scold” Chinese authorities for their failure to curb excess capacity in steel and aluminum, as Jacob Lew did at this week’s US-China Strategic & Economic Dialog meeting in Beijing. In effect, Lew was urging the China’s central government to reassert its control over the bloated steelmaking […]

By |June 8th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Understanding China

For different reasons, many Americans tend to overestimate China’s strengths and to underestimate — even to ignore — its weaknesses.  In today’s New York Times, Ruchir Sharma offers a healthy corrective based on facts and experience.  He sees China’s future growth and stability as being threatened by mounting debt, the slowing of global trade, reversion […]

By |June 5th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments


One of the enduring mysteries of the system of global trading rules revolves around the distinction between “prohibited” and “actionable” subsidies. Or more to the point, if export subsidies were prohibited almost 70 years ago by the original GATT agreement, why do they continue to distort international trade?

As updated in the 1994, the WTO subsidy […]

By |May 23rd, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Rethinking Trade Policy

It was refreshing to read William’s Galston’s column in the May 11 Wall Street Journal, supporting Hillary Clinton’s call for a “fundamental rethink of how we approach trade deals.” Galston lays out several improvements in trade law enforcement and calls for temporary, limited wage insurance for workers displaced by “trade and offshoring” to bolster the […]

By |May 12th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Straight Talk On Currency Misalignment

Straight Talk On Currency Misalignment

By Charles Blum

May 20, 2015    Volume 22, No. 7

Manufacturing and Technology News

Americans spend most of their lives in a dollar-denominated world and don’t have as much experience with foreign currencies as non-Americans have with dollars. As a result, much of our public discourse on currency issues over many years has […]

By |May 25th, 2015|Blog, Speeches and Presentations|0 Comments


Projecting The Status Quo, Charles Blum

So, President Obama thinks that anyone who questions the opaque Trans-Pacific Partnership is in effect arguing for perpetuating the “status quo.” (See today’s Washington Post: A while back, he charged critics of the TPP and its baby sister the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with complaining about issues that […]

By |December 4th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments