U.S. Explores Free Trade Alternatives
Not all trade arrangements are funneled through the WTO. The United States, for instance, maintains several regional trade agreements, the most recognized of which is NAFTA.
“Even though these regional agreements are called ‘free trade agreements,’ that’s not entirely the case,” said Gilbert. “They are fundamentally different because agreements among a few countries are discriminatory trade. When countries reduce tariffs on just a few other trading partners, there is a cost to others, and it may actually reduce the overall size of the economic pie.”
To help the U.S. approach these agreements carefully, Gilbert is working with the Peter G. Petersen Institute for International Economics, a private, non-profit, non-partisan research organization that makes recommendations to Congress and foreign governments on economic issues.
Currently, the U.S. is negotiating free trade agreements with 14 countries, and Gilbert is conducting studies of Pakistan, India, Switzerland, and South Korea to determine which of those agreements make the most sense to enter into.