Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Hilary Appel

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

2018 Yue Shen

OCLC Record Number



President Trump’s presidency can be characterized as unpredictable, controversial, and unconventional. One such instance is America’s departure from decades of free-trade advocacy under his administration and engagement in trade disputes with numerous nations. By viewing the 2018 trade dispute through the political and economic perspectives, this thesis aims to understand what the motivating factors are for Trump and his administration to pursue such extensive protectionist policies. The author analyzes the tariffs through two main categories: those that target an adversarial power, China, and those that target traditional allies like Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. The thesis finds that, politically and economically, the protectionist policies have a low likelihood of yielding a substantial payout for the Trump administration. They also potentially threaten to undermine the U.S-built world order.