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The Reasons for Opposing Free Trade from an Economic and Political Perspective

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DOI: 10.25236/ermss.2021.054


Huatai Li

Corresponding Author

Huatai Li


Over the past years, free trade has been widely accepted in various countries around the world. However, the global financial turmoil in 2008 has resulted in numerous questionings on the functions of capitalism and the operation of free markets (Shelburne, 2010). Nowadays, countries have not only begun to oppose free trade to varying degrees but also have taken corresponding trade protection measures. The arguments against free trade are closely related to economic and political positions. From an economic perspective, opponents of free trade argue that in the case of free trade, domestic emerging industries will be hit in fierce competition, which will lead to an increase in national unemployment. From a political perspective, the challenge for free trade is that, on the one hand, free trade is bound to aggravate trade frictions, thereby playing a negative role in international relations; on the other hand, free trade provides opportunities for piracy and intellectual property infringement against other countries. To have a thorough understanding of these arguments against free trade in the highly-globalised business context, this essay will critically explore the controversial role of free trade on participants based on the discussion of economic and political implications.


Political perspective, Free trade, Business environment