As the United States Trade Representative from 1997 to 2001 under the Clinton Administration, Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky served as the nation’s leading trade negotiator. She is now a partner at the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. Today, she discusses the impact of COVID-19 on national and global trade. She delves into the relationship between a country’s response and the effect it has on a country’s economy, the unique position the world is now facing with a crisis of both supply and demand, and how the United States’s stand of “America First” is harming the country’s ability to recover quickly.
While the outlook is grim for both the United States economy and the global economy, there are a number of steps the current administration can take to move towards a faster recovery: (1) remove tariffs on medical supplies, (2) lift tariffs on all imported goods, (3) wave “By America” rules, especially for small businesses, (4) wave visa restrictions that are currently preventing European and Chinese doctors with experience treating COVID-19 from entering the US, (5) stop pressuring supply chains, and (6) begin coordinating with other countries to develop a vaccine.
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