President-elect Biden talks a lot about restoring American leadership after four years of “retreat” under his predecessor. On trade in particular, America has turned inward under President Trump, who has torn up trade deals, launched trade wars and generally thumbed his nose at the institutions that govern free trade – ones the U.S. helped build.

But those hoping the U.S. will turn away from Trump’s “America first” policies and again lead the world in promoting free trade will likely be disappointed, according to Charles Hankla, a scholar of international political economy at Georgia State University. Even though most Americans say they embrace trade, a vocal minority of populists on both the left and the right will make it very hard for Biden to change course, Hankla explains.

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Bryan Keogh

Senior Editor, Economy + Business

Biden says his Cabinet picks will help him restore American leadership in the world. Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Why Biden will find it hard to undo Trump’s costly ‘America first’ trade policy

Charles Hankla, Georgia State University

President-elect Biden hopes to restore America's global leadership on issues like trade, but populists in both parties may make his job a lot harder.

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