"Protectionism" is likely to be a topic of conservation this week at the G-20 meetings in Pittsburgh. We will not be surprised if U.S. representatives are urged to avoid starting a "trade war" by safeguarding American industries against unfair competition from abroad.
Representatives of the world's 20 biggest economies will be in attendance at the Pittsburgh meetings. It goes without saying that in terms of international trade agreements, all will be jockeying for position to protect industries and workers in their nations.
Just a few days before the G-20 meeting was scheduled to begin, President Barack Obama's administration announced that it was taking action to safeguard U.S. producers of vehicle tires against unfair business practices used by their competitors in China. Beijing promptly reacted by slapping limits on imports of American chicken to China. That raised fears of an escalating "trade war" between our two countries.
But it is the president's responsibility to safeguard American workers against unfair trade practices by foreign companies and countries. Too often in the past, that has not been done.
Obama was right to back American workers and businesses, and should not back away from other trade measures intended to protect the jobs here in the United States.