The US’s “Free Trade” Isn’t Very Free

by Ryan McMaken

The false notion that the US has eliminated virtually all of its barriers to foreign imports has been repeated more and more in recent years. The claim is made both by advocates for free trade and by critics of free trade. For instance, Patrick Buchanan has claimed only American elites “are beneficiaries to free trade” while implying the US either has free trade, or something close to it. Rather than insulate US companies from global competition, Buchanan insists, the US practices “globalism” and has all but erased the US border when it comes to foreign goods.

Meanwhile, in many articles on tariffs, readers may encounter a graph like this, which suggests trade barriers have almost vanished:

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