Samuelson’s Concern, Kindleberger Trap and U.S. Trade Protectionism*

Yuan Qian (原倩)
Foreign Economic Research Institute, Academy of Macroeconomic Research (AMR), Beijing, China

Abstract: “Samuelson’s Concern” and “Kindleberger Trap” are cited as justifications for trade protectionism under the Trump administration. After reviewing Samuelson’s and Kindleberger’s trade theories, this paper finds that both Samuelson and Kindleberger are actually proponents of free trade, and that their common concern is falling US competitiveness due to its economic model, domestic institutional rules, and unilateralism. Both the “Samuelson’s Concern” and “Kindleberger Trap” are distortions of Samuelson’s and Kindleberger’s original theories and the arguments’ defense of protectionism cannot overcome the challenges confronting the U.S. and will destabilize international economic order.

Keywords: trade protectionism, Samuelson’s Concern, Kindleberger Trap, international economic order

JEL Classification Codes: F15, F40
DOI:1 0.19602/j .chinaeconomist.2019.9.03

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