by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The United States is slightly more restrictive overall in trade than Canada and the European Union, according to data compiled by the White House Council of Economic Advisers and obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The data, which shows that the combined impact of America’s tariff and non-tariff trade barriers are slightly higher than the measures Canada and the EU imposed, refutes statements made by President Donald Trump. The president has repeatedly justified his aggressive trade policy against his key trade allies based on what he says are unfair trade practices levied on U.S. exports.
“This argument that somehow the rest of the world is mistreating us and that we have lower tariffs than anyone else is just a lie. It’s just flat out wrong,” a former consultant for the Reagan administration’s Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Claude Barfield, told TheDCNF.
Trump routinely points to the U.S. trade deficit as proof America is losing in international trade. The key to balancing out the trade deficit, Trump argues, is to enact reciprocal tariffs on America’s trading partners so both sides are on a level playing field.
Trump’s goal is to eliminate all trade barriers between the U.S. and its trading partners, the president said at the conclusion of June’s G7 summit.
While Trump has legitimate complaints against China’s trade practices, his rhetoric against Canada and the EU is largely unjustified, according to over half a dozen economists who spoke with TheDCNF. They also say that barrier-free trade won’t reduce the U.S. trade deficit.