The Recent Consequences of Trade Wars and Trade Threats
Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM (PST)
- Chair: Kyle Handley, University of Michigan
The Return to Protectionism
After decades of supporting free trade, in 2018 the U.S. raised import tariffs and major trade partners retaliated. We analyze the short-run impact of this return to protectionism on the U.S. economy. Import and retaliatory tariffs caused large declines in imports and exports. Prices of imports targeted by tariffs did not fall, implying complete pass-through of tariffs to duty-inclusive prices. The resulting losses to U.S. consumers and firms who buy imports was $51 billion, or 0.27% of GDP. We embed the estimated trade elasticities in a general-equilibrium model of the U.S. economy. After accounting for tariff revenue and gains to domestic producers, the aggregate real income loss was $7.2 billion, or 0.04% of GDP. Import tariffs favored sectors concentrated in politically competitive counties, and the model implies that tradeable-sector workers in heavily Republican counties were the most negatively affected due to the retaliatory tariffs.
The looming threat of tariff hikes: entry into exporting under trade agreement renegotiation
AbstractThe renegotiation of a trade agreement introduces uncertainty into the economic environment. In June 2016 the British electorate unexpectedly voted to leave the European Union, introducing a new era in which the UK and EU began to renegotiate the terms of the UK-EU trading relationship. We exploit this natural experiment to estimate the impact of uncertainty associated with trade agreement renegotiation on the export participation decision of firms in the UK. Starting from the Handley and Limao (2017) model of exporting under trade policy uncertainty, we derive testable predictions of firm entry into (exit from) a foreign market under an uncertain `renegotiation regime'. Empirically, we develop measures of the trade policy uncertainty facing firms exporting from the UK to the EU after June 2016. Using the universe of UK export transactions at the firm and product level, and cross-sectional variation in `threat point' tariffs, we estimate that in 2016 over 5300 exporters did not enter into exporting new products to the EU. The looming threatof tariff hikes detered entry modestly in the
first month after the referendum, but the deterent effect grew over time.
Brexit Uncertainty and Trade Disintengration
AbstractWe estimate the uncertainty effects of preferential trade disagreements. Increases in the probability of Britain’s exit from the European Union (Brexit) reduce bilateral export values and trade participation. These effects are increasing in trade policy risk across products and asymmetric for UK and EU exporters. We estimate that a persistent doubling of the probability of Brexit at the average disagreement tariff of 4.5% lowers EU-UK bilateral export values by 15 log points on average, and more so for EU than UK exporters. Neither believed a trade war was likely.
- F1 - Trade
- F5 - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy