The “Trade Talks” podcast series

Chad Bown writes to me:

“I write and take the liberty of drawing your attention to a new and weekly podcast series called Trade Talks that Soumaya Keynes (The Economist) and I are publishing.

According to the iTunes description, we promise to

cohost a weekly podcast on developments in international trade and policy. From trade wars to trade deals, this podcast covers the week’s trade news with insights and economic analysis from two of the world’s top trade geeks.

What more could you want from a couple of economists?

How to find the podcast?

  • Subscribe (for free) to Trade Talks in iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn, or from most anywhere you find podcasts, whether on an iOS or Android device.
  • Either click through one of the blue links above, or type “Trade Talks” into the search bar of your podcast directory (and look for our logo, below).

Here are our episodes thus far:


Four podcasts, and only 2 have shots at Trump embedded in the headline?

This guy is lame. Know your audience, pal.

+1: That immediately struck me too.

It's interesting that free traders never bring up foreign unfair practices. I don't get that. China does as much protectionist stuff as anyone else. Call them out, too, not just Trump.

Ok never is strong. But trade barriers are much higher in Asia than in America. Source is my personal experience doing both import and export.

"... my personal experience doing both import and export."

... so do you still trade with foreign persons whose governments have trade practices you consider unfair?
Or do you personally consider each specific trade deal on its own merits/value to your business?
Are you smart enough to see bad/unfair foreign deals in your business or do need outside help?
Does anybody force you to trade with foreign persons you do not wish to contract with?

What exactly do you want WashingtonDC politicians to do for you via "trade policy" ?

You cannot trade if the other country does not allow it or makes it very hard to do so.

I believe in free trade, and would like the entire world to benefit.

This topic is not about "DC trade policy" but "cohost a weekly podcast on developments in international trade and policy. From trade wars to trade deals, this podcast covers the week’s trade news with insights and economic analysis from two of the world’s top trade geeks."

My point is that if their main topics seem to revolve around Trump and American policy. Interesting since they claim to be "global" trade geeks.

1) US tariffs are already low. Good job DC! Now let's move on to where we could do better.
2) Its foreign governments who seem to have high tarrifs...I wish we would have negotiated a little harder. But who care...those governments could be convinced to unilaterally lower their tarrifs and welcome imports.


Maybe they could have their experts listen to a podcast by "two of the world’s top trade geeks" that wasn't "Trump" "Mexico, so possibly Trump" and "Trump."

Topics I would like to hear about:

1) Chinese exports from Africa. Ethiopia, in particular. Is this really happening? Its a great story.
2) Is there any way to calculate when labor arbitrage should end? Or will it ever?
3) I'd be interested in Under Armour and Adidas automated factories and trade, too.

@ Harun who says: "You cannot trade if the other country does not allow it or makes it very hard to do so." - false. Google "unilateral trade" then "bilateral trade". It pays to trade if a single country, like the USA, has relative wages differences between making widget A and widget B. Any time you have differences in real wages, i.e., you're not at the Pareto optimal frontier, it pays to trade.

What you are complaining about is an advanced topic of trade: despite unilateral trade being good, is it proper to threaten a trade war in order to induce bilateral trade? It's a game theory topic, and the answer is: yes, but only if you don't piss off the country and cause a permanent trade war. Since the USA is an monopsonist in trade, due to persistent current account deficits, the likelihood of a permanent trade war is small, so therefore a Trump like threat of a trade war is probably a GOOD tactic to open up foreign markets. Hence in a strange way Trump is actually a true free-market free trade strategist (unknown to him however). Sorry if I lost 99% of you reading this, including the hapless dan111 and the food allergy guy msgkings, but that's life.

false. Google “unilateral trade” then “bilateral trade”

You are such a thorough idiot. Google "embargo"

It's because 95% of the time the argument for "free trade" rests on a false choice where either the US either has "free trade" and then magical unicorns cause everyone else to have it with the US too, or the US has protectionism and everyone else "retaliates." But if a nation is restricting its trade even if the US has free trade, is it still beneficial for the US to continue to have free trade with them? They don't want to go there, so they don't.

"But if a nation is restricting its trade even if the US has free trade, is it still beneficial for the US to continue to have free trade with them? They don’t want to go there, so they don’t."

The argument seems to be that if the deal benefits the foreign country 90% and the US 10%, then the US is leaving money on the table by not taking. Of course it completely ignores the long term negotiation and reputational aspects. Once foreign negotiators realize that the US will always accept less than a 50/50 deal, then that's all that will get offered.

Good point.

Again, you'd think a trade economist podcast might deign to discuss foreigner's bad policies, too. Maybe they do, as its just the titles that looked especially Trumpy.

I also don't like the Don Boudreaux argument that if foreigners want to subsidize American consumption, its okay.

Its not. We don't malinvestment from bad price signals. That is really pernicious and can do long-lasting harm.

Harun: One of the many problems with empower one government to monitor and correct for the subsidies of another is that identifying such subsidies is surprisingly difficult:

Another of these many problems is an asymmetry in such responses: interest groups reliably complain about real and alleged subsidies offered by foreign governments to stimulate their countries' exports. Those same interest groups - and the politicians who respond to these groups - do not (1) bother to complain about subsidies and other distortions that have no perceived impact on the domestic (here, the importing) country , or (2) bother to complain about other-governments' efforts that make those countries economies' exports (or would-be exports) unnecessarily costly.

There is also the aspect that supposedly economists are not for "national economic interest." They are interested in growth for everyone.

So why not advocate for lowering Chinese barriers to trade?

Keep in mind there are a ton of Chinese grad students being exposed to our educational process. So, its not as if this will fall on deaf ears.

I mean, US tariffs are incredibly low. The highest one I pay is 4%.

Canada and Mexico have higher tariffs.

And that's not considering non-tariff barriers.

I'd (genuinely) love to hear the internationalists flesh out how US laborers can thrive competing against workers who make 1/19th what they do.

Everyone seems to get quiet when that gets posed.

Well the strict trade economist answer is that they'll have to specialize in jobs with a comparative advantage. But effectively, for the modern American economy, that has meant moving into non-trade competing industries (such as local or protected services) or manufacturing jobs with high automation components. Unfortunately technology is narrowing the size of the local service industry and the global competition in highly automated jobs is increasing. And a significant amount of illegal immigration has also increased competition and acted to lower the wages for unskilled labor.

Try rents JWatts. Owning property in marque cities is good. But you have to have money to make money. In a post-scarcity economy, I see the rich getting richer and the rest living on the dole, poor but happy.

Yes, collecting rents is the way the lower classes can make ends meet in the future.

Do you have brain damage?

Dude you are such a cuck who cares about the poors?

Funny. Steve Bannon is also doing a podcast on international trade policy. But, not with someone from a British magazine.

The first program will be on how US manufacturers can capture domestic rent from trade restrictions which raise prices while automating at the same time to reduce their labor costs.

Next weeks program will be about how high domestic steel prices from import restrictions are harming the US auto industry.

On a side note about trade, northern China has had a lot of large price increases lately. This is because the government is now cracking down on unlicensed factories.

Its interesting how an environmental regulation merely being enforced can cause prices to jump by 10-20%. You'd think it would not be so high. Apparently the licenses for industry are quite expensive. Somebody's making money.

I would have guessed pollution registration would have added a few % at most. The key is the rules are draconian and simply eliminate large chunks of supply.

Several factories planned to get around this by working at night. Apparently inspectors don't come out at night...yet.

My complaint with the podcasts is that they are 'streamed' but not easily downloadable. I don't want to stream them on a smart phone, I want to store them on a USB stick and listen to them that way. That, and I have a feeling they are more basic than I want, probably for somebody like Harun upstream than an advanced, fertile mind like me.

Is her name really Keynes?

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