Protectionist trade policies are popular on both the left and right. But some economists say they’re likely to backfire.

No matter who wins the White House and control of Congress this autumn, one aspect of trade policy is likely to endure: Washington’s tough-on-China protectionist stance. But several trade experts predict that the America-first model of slapping tariffs on adversaries — as President Biden did this week — will backfire.

Critics of tariffs and export restrictions say they not only will potentially exacerbate inflation and drag down economic growth, but are also likely to fail for a simpler reason: Chinese companies may see their businesses slowed down by the restrictions, but have found ways to beat them.

As Alex Durante, an economist at the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank that works with policymakers in the United States and Europe, bluntly put it: “They don’t work.”

Huawei has shown that companies can find workarounds. Last

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