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Can Free Trade and Protectionism Coexist?

The article "Experts See Grave Implications in US Shift Away From Free Trade," Jan. 24, describes an increasingly important aspect of international commerce: the conflict between free trade and protectionism.

In this vein, I find this country's increasingly vocal protests against foreign trade barriers darkly amusing in light of United States protectionist sentiment. Especially ironic is the pressure exerted on the Japanese to lower their nontariff trade barriers while domestic consumers are urged to spurn imports and "buy American." While trade restriction must be addressed, we send a rather hypocritical message to our trade partners when we demand free trade while raising protectionist barriers of our own. Peter W. Farney, Grand Forks, N.D.

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