International: Free Trade Is Under Attack

The decision of the American government to impose trade tariffs on goods from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union has caused an uproar and ignited plans of retaliation right away. The world has entered a trade world. Even more so like real wars, a trade war knows only losers.
Economic nationalism has put the world into the Great Depression in the 1930s, when the United States imposed the infamous Smoot-Hawley Tariff on thousands of goods. The leaders of the world had learnt about this catastrophe and after World War II, the United States had acted as the leader in order to promote free trade around the globe.
The costs of protectionism are paid by the consumer. Protectionism means that goods become more expensive and that the quality falls. The apparent advantage of protecting the home industry vanishes because protectionism by one nation invites retaliation from the other nations. In the end, all are worse off.
When the United States complains about its trade deficit, it must notice the paradox that the U.S. economy has the highest degrees of international competitiveness. In many sectors, the United States operates at the forefront of technological progress. American companies are known world-wide and enjoy the highest valuations.
There seems to be no obvious reason why the United States should practice protectionism. Thus, what lies behind the new protectionism?
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