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In a recent Vox essay outlining my thinking about US President Donald Trump’s emerging trade policy, I pointed out that a “bad” trade deal such as the North American Free Trade Agreement is responsible for only a vanishingly small fraction of lost US manufacturing jobs over the past 30 years.

Just 0.1 percentage points of the 21.4 percentage-point decline in the employment share of manufacturing during this period is attributable to NAFTA, which was enacted in December 1993.

As Harvard University’s Larry Summers and Barry Eichengreen of the University of California at Berkeley have observed, it is almost as if Trump’s economic...

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