Our faculty members often help make sense of the world, especially with the complex policy discussions currently happening. Sometimes, you just want to know how topics like trade policy translate to everyday life.

This week, Maia Linask, an assistant professor of economics in the Robins School of Business, provided American Express with insights about international trade and how the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership might affect American businesses.

International trade can be notoriously complicated, but Linask, who teaches microeconomics and international trade, has a knack for explaining those complexities in a way everyone can understand, even when it comes to the TPP.

Earlier this year, the United States signaled its intent to withdraw from the agreement through a presidential memo. While she sees minimal immediate impacts on most American businesses, Linask believes they may regret withdrawing in the long term.

"China has already signaled its intention to step into the void left by the U.S. withdrawing from the agreement," Linask told AmEx’s Open Forum. "If China succeeds in negotiating its proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and this effectively replaces the TPP, then Chinese exports will face lower tariffs in all RCEP member countries.”

Linask explains that because Chinese exports will be subject to lower tariffs, U.S. exports will be at a competitive disadvantage since they will still be subject to higher tariffs.

“A tariff is simply a tax,” Linask says. And in her field, she is concerned by the talk of raising tariffs on imports as some of her research shows the impact could be damaging on several levels.

She also says the idea that increasing tariffs on imports would lead to an increase in U.S. jobs is a misconception.

“To hope that increasing tariffs against imports will immediately increase jobs in the U.S. due to product demand is simply not likely to happen,” Linask explains. “Tariffs are immediate, but building factories takes years.”