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The Free Trade Debate, 2016

Trade has become a weapon in the in the current U.S. election cycle, with both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders decrying free-trade pacts. But Miriam Sapiro argues in a New York Times op-ed that with less than 5% of the world’s population, the U.S. needs trade for a healthy economy. She credits trade agreements with prying open foreign markets to allow a $200 billion trade surplus for U.S. services.

But the story is full of complexity. Manufacturing jobs have certainly been lost, and local economies can take a long time to rebound. According to a study by MIT economist David Autor and coauthors, “Adjustment in local labor markets is remarkably slow, with wages and local labor-force participation rates remaining depressed… for at least a full decade.”  

Global Network Perspectives talked with experts around the world for a view on trade agreements in other countries.