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Poll: popularity of global trade improving

Poll: popularity of global trade improving

GOOD economic times in the United States have bumped up the popularity of global trade in the last four years, with more Americans saying it creates jobs, boosts pay and lowers prices, according to a survey out Wednesday.

The poll of attitudes in 27 nations also showed improving views of international trade in economies such as France, Poland, Japan and India, according to the Pew Research Center.

In the world’s advanced economies only slim minorities believe trade will make them wealthier by driving up pay, creating jobs or lowering wages, the survey found. Bruce Stokes, Pew Research’s director of global economic attitudes, said trade’s improving popularity coincided with the decade’s economic recovery.

“What all of us kind of presume is that if you feel good about the economy, you feel good about a lot of things,” he said.

The improving attitudes towards global trade come despite a nationalist political wave on both sides of the Atlantic, with the US pursuing trade battles with all major economies and Britain voting to exit the European Union.

About three quarters of Americans now say international trade is good, while a median of 83 per cent in nine other countries – including France, Germany, Mexico, Russia and South Korea – feel this is the case, according to the survey.

Since 2014, the share of Americans saying trade creates jobs jumped 16 points to 36 per cent, and those saying it raised wages rose 14 points to 31 per cent – but those saying it held down prices was about stable at 37 percent.

Europeans were similarly divided on such questions but their views have been relatively stable in the last four years, according to the survey.

Still, the view that trade is a net good for the economy jumped nine points in France to 83 per cent, and also rose nine points in Indonesia, to 86 per cent.

But when it comes to the details, trade remains a tough sell, said Stokes.

Just 13 per cent in France and 12 per cent in Italy believed trade raises worker pay.

“People aren’t buying economists’ arguments for trade,” said Stokes. “Talking louder and talking slower isn’t going to do it.”

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