US / China shipping containers Getty
US trade policy appears to be a scaled-down version of the Chinese trade policy, granting or withholding access to customers to achieve some profit or principle.

You and Me Against the World

Customers — buyers of manufactured materials and goods, but also individual consumers … us — are being negotiated: Will we gain greater access, or will we lose more autonomy? More important, will the negotiators see us as products to be evaluated? Or as assets to be protected.

Last year U.S. manufacturers — including forgers — were effectively split about the new turn in domestic trade policy, which seemed to start by aggressively challenging all foreign-made products, but eventually (through negotiation and some moderation) was revealed to be a restructuring of multilateral trade principles and a reassertion of bilateral arrangements. Even this does not stand out as a new policy, because the U.S. maintains participation in multilateral arrangements, like NAFTA

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