The United States has entered an era of geoeconomic competition, but may only be using half of its economic toolkit. Increasingly, U.S. policymakers rely on sanctions, tariffs, and other forms of coercive economic power. This series of short commentaries draws attention to a potent but neglected weapon in the U.S. economic arsenal. It examines how positive uses of trade policy can advance strategic objectives, from bolstering old alliances and forging new ones in strategic regions to competing with China and responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This series is made possible by support from Atlas Network.
August 6, 2020
| Jonathan E. Hillman
The world’s largest economy has largely forgotten how to use economic power. As it leans heavily on the stick, the United States must rediscover the power of the carrot in foreign affairs.
June 1, 2020
| Jack Caporal
When considering strategic dimension of trade agreements, policymakers should expand their calculus to take labor obligations into account. Agreements can bolster or undermine worker rights, and accordingly strengthen or weaken an agreement’s strategic potential.
June 8, 2020
| Heather A. Conley
Overcoming the barriers to a free trade agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom, the world's largest and fifth-largest economies, could balance China’s rise and infuse the digital future with democratic standards.
July 20, 2020
| Wendy Cutler, Seok young Choi
The strategic benefits of trade with partners and allies can reach well beyond the corners of a deal, as the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) demonstrates.
May 19, 2020
| Judd Devermont
The negotiations for a U.S.-Kenya Free Trade Agreement will shape broader U.S.-African relations. Critical factors for U.S. policymakers will be de-emphasizing China, preserving AGOA, and supporting the AfCFTA agreement.
May 27, 2020
| Sam duPont
In competing with China, the United States and its democratic allies should place the free flow of data and an open global digital economy at the heart of their strategy.
July 20, 2020
| Grace Hearty
Fishery negotiations play an important role in international trade agreements. The USMCA has acted as a successful vehicle for increasing international cooperation on key environmental issues that benefit the United States from both an economic and a strategic perspective.
May 27, 2020
| Kurt Tong
This year’s unique situation—with Taiwan inspiring positive headlines; American politicians looking for ways to stand up to China; and markets looking for ways to bounce back from Covid-19—is a unique opportunity to focus on why a U.S.-Taiwan trade agreement would be beneficial for the United States.
July 15, 2020
| Matt Warner
Covid-19 may be the most important humanitarian crisis of the twenty-first century. U.S. trade policy may prove to be one of the most powerful tools for heading off disaster.
January 31, 2020
| Audrye Wong
While much attention has been focused on economic coercion, inducements have also played an important role in China’s toolkit. Ramping up U.S. efforts at bilateral and multilateral economic engagement would provide more credible or appealing alternatives.