Free Trade and Steel: An Examination of the Economic and National Security Cases Against Import Restrictions

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01/10/2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

In the nearly 250 years since Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations, economists have been nearly unanimous in their support for free trade. Yet even Smith and subsequent economists have acknowledged that free trade can and should yield when it jeopardizes security. As a result, our domestic and international trade laws reflect this theory – providing the authority to restrict trade in order to protect national security. The United States has used this authority sparingly and judiciously.

In the spring of 2017, President Trump issued a memorandum to the Department of Commerce directing it to begin investigating whether steel imports jeopardize national security. The Commerce report is due in the coming weeks, and the president’s decision will follow shortly thereafter.

In conjunction with the release of R Street’s new policy study examining the economic and national security cases against imposing steel tariffs, we invite you to a luncheon where these topics will be explored in detail.


  • Clark Packard, Trade Policy Counsel, R Street Institute
  • Megan Reiss, Ph.D., Senior National Security Fellow, R Street Institute
  • Shannon Mercer, National Security and Law Associate, The Hoover Institution; Managing Editor, The Lawfare Blog (Moderator)
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