While protectionist measures may sometimes have short term gains, in terms of the long view, free trade encourages competition and benefits the consumer.
The state of Texas is a large state with a large international border, and several large metropolitan areas, several of which also serve as border cities with Mexico. Texas is also a state that has busy port cities. Therefore, ever since NAFTA, Texas has had an increasingly favorable free trade environment. “Expanding trade has brought jobs and business to Texas but has left the state particularly vulnerable to antitrade actions. Texas would suffer greatly if the U.S. and other countries implement protectionist measures” (Skelton, 2009). Texas sees various benefits from free trade, including exporting contracts which rival major east coast and west coast US states such as New York, California, and Florida. Therefore, many worry that protectionist measures will stifle Texas’ growth that it has seen since the mid 1990s in terms of free trade with Latin American nations and Mexico. However, as one source notes, “This very success leaves the state exposed to protectionist experimentation, particularly in the Americas. While attempts to curtail imports and lock out foreign companies damage the U.S. economy and harm U.S. consumers, the effects would be particularly detrimental to the Texas economy” (Skelton, 2009). There are many perspectives to consider on the issue of free trade vs. protectionism.
Questions of free trade and protectionism impact the US and international as well as the state levels, and there is an equal variety of points of view, some supporting free trade and some supporting protectionism. Kurlantzick’s article is critical of international expansion. The author posits that a more global atmosphere is facing many challenges in the present, despite a high point in the latter part of the twentieth century. “Synchronized economic slowdowns in Asia, Europe and the United