Sputnik discussed the unfolding trade war between the US and some of its key allies with Tom Switzer, executive director of the Centre for Independent Studies and a presenter on Australia's ABC National Radio.
Sputnik: What are your thoughts on the controversial moves made by Donald Trump? What do you think this has actually done for his "America First" platform?
Tom Switzer: Well, my own view, for what it's worth, is that trade protectionism is not good public policy. It will only increase the prices for consumer goods in the US and it's more than likely going to provoke a trade war with American allies and competitors and that will only help slow down the global economy. There is no upside here.
But one can profoundly disagree with the policy of "America First" and tariff increases on foreign steel and aluminum and still recognize that Trump is merely keeping his promise to the American people, to local manufacturing, especially in those rust-belt states that won him the 2016 election. This is consistent with that he has done on a lot of key election pledges. Remember he pulled the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal, pulled the US out of the Paris climate deal and he has also imposed tariffs.
That is consistent with what he said as a presidential candidate in 2016. So you should probably not be surprised that he is putting into place what he said he would do.
Sputnik: What is your idea of the fight against protectionism and cutting trade barriers in the absence of the US?
Tom Switzer:Bear in mind that the people who are blaming Trump, […] all these commentators and political figures, who are slamming Trumps protectionism,should recognize that the multilateral global round on free trade has been stalled for the last 10 years, since 2008 in Doha, when China and India and other developing countries ganged up to force the Western world on kick starting a new agenda for multilateral free trade.
Now, Trump's decision will make a bad situation worse, in my judgment, but to just blame Trump for this is nonsense. And the idea that somehow the EU and Canada doesn't have any tariffs on American goods and services is just nonsense.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.