This election year has seen the most concerted, dangerous attack on free trade since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993. From both the right and the left, leading presidential candidates have savaged NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-country pact among Pacific nations currently awaiting a vote in Congress. No matter what happens in November, these underlying political sensitivities are not going away.
Critics of NAFTA and the TPP are wrong to suggest that free trade is harmful for America. On the contrary, a full retreat into autarky has almost always hurt the U.S. economy.