Labor Rights Can Be Good Trade Policy: An Analysis of U.S. Trade with Less Industrialized Economies with Weak or Strong Labor Rights

Source: Christian E. Weller, Stephen Zucconi, Center for American Progress, September 18, 2008

The United States for decades now has racked up large and growing trade deficits with the rest of the world. These deficits could contribute to much lower U.S. living standards in the future. Repaying this accumulated debt–at the end of 2007, the United States owed $2.4 trillion more to foreigners than it held in foreign assets abroad–will become increasingly costly to our nation’s standard of living because it will come at the expense of making needed investments in other parts of our economy. But what should policymakers do about it?

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