One of the central tenets of economics is that trade creates wealth. Any restriction on trade reduces people’s capacity to create wealth. People who can’t create wealth through trade will inevitably try to steal wealth through violence. Thus, everyone in the world has an incentive to enable others to create wealth. Truly wealthy people view their world as abundant and thus, never steal. Our trade policy must help people to live in an abundant world.
The term ‘free trade’ has been adopted by neoliberals to describe corporate trade policy. We don’t advocate ‘free trade’, we advocate truly free trade (true trade) which is unregulated trade between entities in two similarly regulated economies.
The primary reason many American workers aren’t competitive in the global labor market is that their foreign counterparts are often under paid and over burdened. This exploitation can only take place because the foreign worker’s government has failed to protect its citizens. Failed governments can’t win elections so the people within the country must be disenfranchised. This disenfranchisement is caused by a lack of transparency in that nation.
Transparency is the intersection between foreign and trade policy. If we gave every nation a transparency rating and then based all of our tariffs off that number, we would solve our trade and labor problems. Cheap goods from nations that lack transparency would become more expensive, enabling free American workers to compete with inexpensive, exploited foreign workers. This is the foundation of a pro-freedom trade policy.