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Visiting Faculty Iwan Azis Discusses Trump’s Trade Policy


The ministers of 11 nations celebrate the conclusion of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership in Santiago de Chile in March. The participating countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. (Source: AP Photo, D+C website)

The May 2018 issue of the Development and Cooperation, D+C, International Journal features an excerpt by Visiting Faculty member Iwan Azis on President Trump’s trade policies. Azis comments on the inconsistency he sees on the Trump Administration’s behavior concerning policies including the involvement with the Trans-Pacific¬†Partnership, stating, “Donald Trump’s trade policy looks incoherent…where this all will lead to is unclear, but one thing is certain: uncertainty has grown dramatically.

In an interview with the journal, D+C writer Hams Dembowski discusses the administration’s tactics and its influence on the World Trade Organization (WTO). Although the WTO is what Azis believes to be the most efficient medium for international trade agreements, he foresees countries such as China going into more bilateral trade agreements with the U.S., despite the complexities of the agreement. “It makes sense to have global rules [WTO] apply to all parties and facilitate trade. Bilateral deals make things more complicated,” he added.

Azis also commented on the broad issue of unpredictability in global trade. He credited the advancement of supply chains to which they exist today, in contrast to the former commodities and finished goods-based system from how international trade has operated in the past. Azis also questions President Trump’s reliance¬†on imposing tariffs, which he believes impacts both sides rather than allow the U.S. to “win” from such decision. In the midst of all these issues in international trade, he argues that strengthening close cooperates between countries through trade is a strong deterrent for entering any combative wars with other countries, stating, “[After World War II], increasing trade was always seen as a way to entrench peace. If countries cooperate closely and depend on one another, warfare becomes less likely.”

Iwan Azis is a professor in Regional Science in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning at Cornell University. In addition to his career in academia, he also consulted governments in several different countries, particularly in the Asia region, on domestic and international economic affairs.

The interview can be found here.

Published in CRP Faculty New Blog Posts

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