The global economic mood has improved in recent years, yet pessimism remains. Global publics are accepting of trade yet skeptical of its benefits.
At a time of rising tensions between their countries, people in the United States and Germany express increasingly divergent views about the status of their decades-long partnership.
People in advanced and emerging economies generally agree that growing trade and business ties with other nations are good for their country, but fewer are convinced such ties lead to more jobs, higher wages or lower prices at home.
Overall, 38% of Americans have a favorable opinion of China, down slightly from 44% in 2017. Concerns about China include economic threats, cyberattacks, environmental damage and human rights.
Views of Mexico are mixed: While 39% say they feel “warmly” toward Mexico, 34% feel “coldly,” and 26% are neutral, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The public has much warmer feelings toward Canada. Two-thirds (67%) say they feel warmly toward Canada, with 52% giving it a very warm rating (76 or higher on the scale). Just 12% feel coldly toward Canada.
Americans’ views of the new tariffs between the United States and some of its trading partners tilt more negative than positive.
Americans’ views of free trade agreements, which turned more negative during the 2016 campaign, are now about as positive as they were prior to the campaign.
The United States runs a far larger merchandise trade deficit with China than with any other nation. But when the trade deficit is measured in other ways, the U.S. actually has a larger imbalance with countries outside of China.
The highest U.S. tariffs aren't on imports from its biggest trading partners, but on products from several developing South Asian nations whose exports are heavily weighted toward clothing, footwear and other products that the U.S. generally taxes highly.
Average tariff rates, while useful for comparison, can obscure the wide range of rates imposed on different classes of imports and on specific products.