The benefits of free trade have been manifest for over two centuries. Reducing trade with a nation that produces something better than you do deprives your own citizens.
Whether that's Chinese steel, electronics, plastics, or porcelain, when my government makes me pay more for it, or totally keeps it from coming to our shores, my government is harming me.
That my government is doing so because of a few elite industrialists who want to protect a privileged place is a BAD use of government. Except for those elites, everyone else is harmed by trade deprivation. The harm is especially acute if it ratchets to a trade WAR - where the other nation retaliates by slapping tariffs or quotas on good that we make. Then our own workers are harmed, for doing nothing wrong. Trade wars have scant few winners.
The Business communities recognize the harm in trade restrictions. The last two times Mr. Trump publicly threatened to increase the trade restrictions with China, the Dow sank over 400 points. They know that trade restrictions are net losers.
Here's the non-business component of free trade: it makes better allies. Other nations using our stuff, and our using theirs, means we are less strange, more friendly, and more valuable to one another. No war has ever been fought between two nations that both had a McDonalds.
Please DISMISS the "trade deficit" argument. That one nation is more enriched by having a trade surplus with another is a stupid argument. I run a trade deficit with my supermarket. Every month, damn-it, i spend money at Stop-and-Shop, and they spend no money on me! None of them send students to my SAT prep courses. My trade deficits with my tailor, my lawn care guy, and my mechanic each year are colossally imbalanced. I guess i better forego their services, and make them angry, to wipe out my trade deficit. Errrrrr! Or maybe i should ask the government to tax their services to me, so i'll pay more, be resentful, and let the government keep the money. Errrrr!
Better is to recognize that in my trade deficit, i get STUFF, which i'm happy to pay for. Stop and Shop, and the tailor, lawn guy, and mechanic give me services for which i get great value. We can apply this nationally - we get LOTS of stuff from China. We can't produce it nearly as cheaply ourselves. We American consumers thus have more to spend when we buy lower-priced stuff. We enhance our standard of living by trading with low-cost producers.
America's high "trade deficit" should thus be heralded as a sign of our wealth. We have the abundant ability to pay for others' stuff. With open trade, the many dollars we send to other nations come back in other nations using those dollars to to buy our stuff. (And in case they didn't use those dollars, what a GREAT deal for us! - we ship useless green pieces of paper and in return get computers and cars and clothing and I-phones. )
Protectionism should be shunned. When we drop our trade barriers, it might be a spur for other world leaders to drop theirs too. That gives American producers more opportunities to sell to the world, and gives Americana more opportunities to influence the world for good.
Connecticut's governor can do nothing about national tariffs or quotas. But he can inspire more trade between world producers and Connecticut producers. Though not yet governor, i already have - starting Connecticut Commerce to bring divisions of foreign firms to Connecticut. Whether elected or not, i will continue to do so, and i encourage residents who speak other languages and have "salesmanship" to contact me about landing foreign firms. We can be seen and reached through www.ConnComm.net.