The Free Trade Debate: Then and Now

In the 1980s and 1990s, free trade and economic integration were intensely debated topics and the subject of debate in national elections, and generally opposed by the political left. Most recently, right-populist political formations — like Trump and Brexit — have resurfaced the issue of free trade, critiquing it for their own purposes. Why is it that nobody except the political right wants to talk about free trade anymore, especially when our countries have strategic decisions on the horizon— like resourcing pandemic responses and mitigating climate change?

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