Economic Nationalism and Trade Conference

The Risk Institute, Moritz College of Law, Fisher College of Business and the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences recently collaborated to examine — through an interdisciplinary lens — the legal, business and economic consequences of U.S. trade policy at the Economic Nationalism and Trade Conference at The Ohio State University.

“Trade policy is an important and complex issue requiring understanding and solutions made through collaborative sharing of the information and ideas from multiple areas of specialized knowledge,” said The Risk Institute Executive Director Phil Renaud. “Interdisciplinarity is one of our hallmarks of our academic efforts at Ohio State, and it is fitting that three of our colleges would co-sponsor this conference.”

The event featured three sections, each focusing on different aspects of economic nationalism: law, economics and business.

Daniel C.K. Chow, the Frank E. and Virginia H. Bazler Chair in Business Law at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, argued that economic nationalism refers to the “adoption of national policies that promote exports while at the same time creating barriers to imports.” He pointed to the U.S. and China as the two main proponents of economic nationalism in the modern global economy.

2019 Risk Institute - Nationalism Conference
Bruce A. McPheron, executive vice president and provost at Ohio State, speaks at the Economic Nationalism and Trade Conference.

Many of the panelists agreed that tariffs as a trade policy are simply blunt instruments, but the implications and instrumentation of tariffs have tangible political and economic consequences. For example, farmers in China are able to get into global manufacturing, which is a big job compared to low-skill workers in Ohio. An obvious solution is to reduce the number of low-skill workers in highly developed countries.

The Economic Nationalism and Trade Conference raised as many questions as it attempted to answer, especially on hot-button issues including redistribution of wealth, globalization and economic and actual mobility.

The event brought together three connected disciplines – economics, business and law – to discuss international trade, an issue with impacts on our country and beyond. By sharing these perspectives, the conference helped broaden common understanding and sought to improve the well-being of Ohio, and regional, national and global communities.

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