The trip to Washington by UK Prime Minister May in part underscores the unfolding hardball nature of trade relations between the United States and the rest of the world. Forget all-encompassing arrangements intended to build a level playing field for a broad swath of nations. Think tactics and favored partners. Under the Trump administration, Turkey may have a broader deal than Indonesia, Japan could rank lower than Germany. The approach is a perfectly sensible business strategy, however inconsistent with the current global trade regime. The White House will likely move to isolate and constrain perceived competitors. The danger is that distinctions among trading partners becomes capricious and discriminatory. US trade policy now reflects blunt commerce, if not raw emotion, rather than affirmative diplomacy. ■
Learn more at the BBC.
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