The Fundamentals: How to “Speak Trade” and Interpret the News

Trade Matters

Episode 1: A Governor’s View on Trade | September 4, 2019 | 25 minutes

Guest: Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts
Pete Ricketts discusses how he weighs in with Washington on trade policy, where he sees opportunities for Nebraska exports, and how he strategizes for trade missions. He also shares what he’s read lately that helps shape his thinking on trade and international order.

Episode 2: Trade Policy Today: What's New and What's Not | September 23, 2019 | 31 minutes

Guest: Edward Alden, Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow and Visiting Professor at Western Washington University
Edward Alden puts today’s trade policy dynamics in historical perspective. He discusses how the Peterson Memo of 1971 served as a warning about the disruptive aspects of globalization; unpacks the delicate balance between the goals of maximizing trade flows and improving domestic welfare; explains why he thinks state and local governments should have a stronger voice in trade policy; and makes a bold prediction about how future historians will look back on this moment in the life of the World Trade Organization.

Episode 10: What Trade Statistics Can—and Can’t—Tell Us | March 2, 2020 | 41 minutes

Guest: Christine McDaniel, Mercatus Center Senior Research Fellow
Christine McDaniel explains why traditional trade statistics have not kept up with changes in how trade actually happens—and how this can distort our understanding of trade. She describes how two trends—trade in value added and trade in services—lead to misinterpretations of our trade data and discusses how our approach may need to change. She also walks through the unintended consequences of U.S. trade remedy regulations and describes her number one recommendation for changing U.S. trade law.

Related Reading:

  • Christine McDaniel, Veronique de Rugy, “The Downstream Costs ofTrade Remedy Regulations,” The Mercatus Center, June 2018.

Episode 24: How We Talk About Trade | March 8, 2021 | 30 minutes

Guest: Phil Levy, Chief Economist at Flexport and former White House and State Department economic policy advisor
Has the parlance of trade kept up with changes in the way trade actually happens? Phil Levy discusses this gap, why it exists, and how it relates to public expectations about what trade agreements can and should accomplish.

Episode 25: Adjustment, Part 1: Misdiagnosing the Problem of Economic Mobility | June 10, 2021 | 22 minutes

Guest: Grant Aldonas, former Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade
How do we adjust to a competitive global economy and define the challenges facing workers? Grant Aldonas discusses what he calls a misdiagnosis of the problem, political constraints on changing the conversation, and the need to review domestic policies that can be obstacles to economic mobility. Part one of two on “adjustment.”

Episode 26: Adjustment, Part 2: Rethinking Adjustment Assistance | June 16, 2021 | 28 minutes

Guest: Grant Aldonas, former Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade
Grant Aldonas is back on Trade Matters with part two on “adjustment.” Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), a government program to help workers who lose their jobs because of trade, is set to expire on June 30, 2021. Aldonas discusses TAA and the components necessary for what he would call a true adjustment assistance program, one that addresses the broader challenge confronting workers and fosters nimbler and more proactive responses to change. An update on the episode: TAA expired June 30, 2021. Proposed legislation to renew the program remains pending in Congress.

Related Reading:

  • “Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers and the TAA Reauthorization Act of 2015,” Congressional Research Service, 2021.

Episode 27: Trade Deals Under the Radar | August 19, 2021 | 42 minutes

Guest: Kathleen Claussen, Associate Professor, University Miami School of Law, and former associate general counsel at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
This episode is dedicated to the trade deals you haven’t heard about. Sometimes called mini or skinny deals, over the last few decades the United States has made over 1,200 of these agreements. These deals cover a range of issues, vary in scope, are often not made public, and rarely go out of force. They have one thing in common: all are initiated by the executive branch and enacted without a final “thumbs up” from Congress. Kathleen Claussen is tracking down these agreements and explains what they are and what we need to know about them.

Related Reading:

  • Kathleen Claussen, “Mini-Deals: A First Look at the World of Trade Executive Agreements,” International Economic Law and Policy Blog, May 3, 2021.
  • Kathleen Claussen, “Trade Administration,” Virginia Law Review 107 Va. L. Rev. 845, June 22, 2021.


Trade Primer: 10 Things to Know about Trade | October 10, 2019 | 37 minutes

A joint presentation on key economic and legal basics important for understanding today’s fast-moving trade policy dynamics, including: tariffs and how they work; why we trade; the WTO dispute settlement system; what free trade agreements can achieve; trade remedy statutes; global supply chains; bilateral vs. multilateral negotiations; and more. Featuring Matthew Schaefer, professor, Yeutter Institute and Nebraska College of Law, and Uchechukwu Jarrett, Yeutter Faculty Fellow and economics professor, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Bonus Content: Career Paths in International Trade | November 17, 2021 | 60 minutes

Careers in international trade span numerous roles and responsibilities across the government and private sectors. Hear from professionals involved in a range of trade issues about their career journeys and get their advice on how to get started on a career in trade! Featuring a former U.S. Department of Agriculture official and speakers from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Cargill and John Deere.