U.S. International Trade Policy
An Introduction
by W. Charles Sawyer
January 2017, 266pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3367-0
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3368-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Today, it is important to understand international trade policy—even for individuals whose specialties lie outside of economics or international trade.

To understand trade policy, one needs to understand the basics of international economics. This book provides nonspecialists with accessible explanations of international trade, enabling readers to appreciate the importance of current events in international trade policy.

Due to the ever-increasing globalization of the U.S. economy, articles that involve international trade policy—both here and abroad—are increasingly common in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist. In many cases, it is apparent that the authors of such articles lack a sound understanding of the basics of international trade policy. Similarly, many nonspecialist readers do not have the necessary background to grasp the meaning of current events in international economics. This book serves both writers and readers, providing concise, easy-to-understand overviews of the key topics necessary for journalists to write understandable articles on trade policy and for readers to understand what they are reading.

The book begins with coverage of the basic framework of international economics that readers need to grasp in order to understand trade policy. The next two sections cover the tools of trade policy and the political factors that drive their use. The author discusses the history of trade policy, describes how it has evolved over time, and explains where it is headed in the future. Readers will come away with a working understanding of topics such as balance of payments, the current account, comparative advantage, government export subsidies, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Doha Round, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the European Union (EU), and the U.S. Trade Representative.


  • Explains confusing concepts or elements of international economics that are essential to understanding how U.S. trade policy works, such as comparative advantage; trade position; quotas, tariffs, and other nontariff barriers to trade; and dumping (predatory pricing)
  • Reviews and summarizes the classical explanations of the patterns of trade among nations, explains how these patterns are determined by comparative advantage and disadvantage, and documents how these models are still relevant in the 21st century
  • Identifies how the United States' set of subcabinet offices that produce trade policy instead of having a department or ministry of international trade—as every other country does—exacerbates the challenge of understanding U.S. trade policy
  • Represents an ideal resource for journalists tasked with writing comprehensible articles on trade policy and for general readers seeking to understand what they are reading about U.S. trade policy
W. Charles Sawyer is Hal Wright Professor of Latin American Economics at Texas Christian University (TCU). Before coming to TCU in 2007, he previously taught at the University of Arkansas, Louisiana State University, the Helsinki School of Economics and Management, and the University of Southern Mississippi. In addition, he has served as a consultant for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. Sawyer has published more than 40 articles in leading research journals and is the coauthor of three books: The Demand for Imports and Exports in the World Economy, International Economics, and Latin American Economic Development. He is a member of the American Economic Association, the International Trade and Finance Association, and the Academy of International Business.
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