Fair Trade: Reinvigorating American Leadership in the 21st Century

International & National Security Law Practice Group

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On October 15, 2019, the Federalist Society's International & National Security Law Practice Group hosted a panel at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. The topic of the panel was "Fair Trade: Reinvigorating American Leadership in the 21st Century".

Many conservative-leaning thinkers and commentators are swift to attack the President’s embrace of tariffs and other tough trade tools. They speak of free trade and exchange, comparative advantage, and market efficiency, but do these critics fundamentally mistake the pre-Trump trade policy status quo for “free trade?” Have unjust trade imbalances and foreign manipulation of trade relationships chipped away at America's economic and security well-being, meaning bold action has been needed to address it?

President Trump argues that though foreign commercial discrimination, regional protectionism, and illegal commercial exploitation have chipped away at our economic and national security, our economy’s sheer size and and strength have largely insulated it from dramatic, sudden effects. But the effects, in the aggregate, over time, have led to a decline in American dominance and self-reliance. The President made a commitment to revivify sectors that have slowly atrophied over the decades, negatively impacting our culture as well as our economy. By engaging vigorously with foreign powers - allies and strategic competitors alike, the President is attempting to send a signal: He wants free trade, but it must also be fair trade. These and other issues will be debated at our event.


As always, the Federalist Society takes no particular legal or policy positions. All opinions expressed are those of the speakers.

Opening Address

Panel Discussion Featuring:

  • Donald B. Cameron, Jr., Partner, Morris, Manning, & Martin, LLP
  • Hon. Ronald A. Cass, President, Cass & Associates, PC; Former Commissioner & Vice-Chairman, US International Trade Commission; Dean Emeritus, Boston University School of Law
  • Hon. Jeffrey I. Kessler, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Enforcement and Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Moderator: Dean A. Reuter, General Counsel | Vice President & Director, Practice Groups, The Federalist Society