The Feb. 10 editorial “Friends, not security threats” lamented a degree of “managed trade” in deals with China, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan and the European Union. That is correct as far as it goes, but it is not solely a U.S. offense. We live in a trade world that is more managed than free, and our trading partners generally manage their trade more than we do.

We should not forget Canada’s subsidies for dairy and wood products, Mexico’s corrupt unions, Taiwan’s subsidies of high-technology products such as semiconductors, South Korea’s “buy Korea” policies and cartelized distribution systems, Europe’s 10 percent tariffs on auto imports and the vast undervaluation of the euro in the case of Germany that gives German exporters something close to an indirect 20 to 30 percent subsidy. The truth is that virtually all trade, and certainly international investment, is managed in one way or another. The sooner the myth of free trade — that it is always and everywhere a win-win proposition — dies and globalization is recognized as it really is, the better off we will all be.

Clyde Prestowitz, Washington

The writer is president of the
Economic Strategy Institute and
former counselor to the secretary of commerce.