Despite calls for protectionism from those who stand to lose from free trade, the world has clearly been liberalizing trade policy, lowering barriers to trade, and forming regional trade blocs. As a result, international trade is freer than it has ever been. We can all thank economists for this. They are without a doubt the steadiest, strongest, clearest voices in favor of free trade.
U.S. tariffs stand at their lowest level in history. Before World War II they ranged up to 40 percent on some imports. Today, tariff revenues amount to less than 5 percent of import dollar volume, and many imports are exempt from tariffs and quotas. Nontariff barriers to trade have also been largely—but not completely—eliminated.
This does not mean ...