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U.S. President Donald Trump has used national security as a justification for his tariffs on steel imports, his threatened tariff hikes on autos and the tariffs he recently vowed to impose on Mexican imports.While Trump's national security claim seems absurd on the face of it, it raises difficult questions for the world trade regime and global economic governance more broadly.TheFor example, subsidies, industrial policies, employment-protecting tariffs, nontariff measures that target health or social concerns, poor financial regulations and inappropriate (excessively austere) fiscal policies are neither global public goods/bads, nor beggar-thy-neighbor policies.Some of these policies are in fact beggar-thyself policies. Global governance enthusiasts must reckon with the fact that most policy mishaps in the world economy today -- as in the case of Trump's tariffs -- occur as a result of failures at the national level, not because of a lack of international cooperation. Trump's tariffs are bad policy not because they harm certain other countries, but rather because they impose substantial costs directly on the U.S. economy.Unlike "globalization-enhancing global governance," democracy-enhancing global governance would leave most policy domains -- those that cannot be classified as global public goods or beggar-thy-neighbor policies -- to national regulation.It is doubtful that such a light mode of global governance would make a difference when it comes to Trump's trade follies.
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