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U.S. President Donald Trump's steel tariffs have brought the prospect of a trade war closer to reality.It is reasonable to point out that freer trade does have costs.The negative effects have often been concentrated in particular industries and geographic regions (such as the historically industrial Rust Belt of the United States), where manufacturing can be costlier and less efficient than in other countries. One study suggests that if the costs of these effects are added up, they effectively offset more than one-fifth of the overall benefits from trade.Nowhere are the benefits of freer trade more evident than in the world's marketplaces and stores.According to a 2015 report for the White House, middle-class Americans can buy 30 percent more for their money than if there were no free trade.The U.S. working class, which is being promised benefits from trade barriers, would actually be hardest hit by a trade war.Globally, free trade is far and away the most powerful development tool ever devised.Since 1820, global poverty has dropped from 94 percent of humanity to less than 10 percent – largely because of free trade.
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