Free trade has had a rough couple of months. Both U.S. presidential candidates are adopting highly skeptical positions on it; globally, a surge of protectionist sentiment is on the rise. Here, former U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Susan Schwab lays out the case for free trade and explains the difficult political imperatives around the issue — and argues for its continuing importance as both an economic and geopolitical tool.
Octavian Report: Why do you think that the run-up to the presidential election has seen such a strong movement, after so many years of bipartisan consensus, away from free trade?
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Susan C. Schwab is a professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, a strategic advisor to the law firm Mayer Brown, LLP, and a former U.S. Trade Representative.