September 9, 2016

A Tantalizing Trade Opportunity with Important National Security Implications

Gardner Peckham

At a moment in history when support for free trade is appearing to ebb, a fresh chance to revive it appears on the horizon – Brexit. London’s The Telegraph columnist Juliet Samuel makes this case as persuasively as anyone has to date. It falls to the next US Administration to embrace her message and enthusiastically reach for this rare opportunity to reverse the troubling trend of protectionism and continue to remove barriers to trade, achieve mutual prosperity, and set the stage for reviving TPP and TTIP.

Ms. Samuel makes an excellent point but it should be taken a step further. Trade agreements should not be seen as in a vacuum. In addition to providing economic value, they strengthen bilateral and multilateral relationships in important ways that promote national security and strengthen alliances. Blowing up existing or potential free trade agreements weakens our ties to like-minded liberal democracies, diminishes our security alliances, and cheers our adversaries.