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Trade Policy under Siege

A key argument for trade liberalization is that benefits are generally large enough to compensate the losers and leave no one worse off. In practice, compensation rarely occurs. So part of what is happening is the chickens are coming home to roost for policymakers, especially in the United States, who paid too little heed to the losers from trade. But there is more to the opposition to trade agreements, especially in Europe where the safety nets and adjustment programs are more robust.