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Bravo for the clear explanation of the flaws in our trade policy over the last decades.

During my years working as a U.S. diplomat in Japan, I was often baffled at how our trading partner shielded its industries from the entry of competing U.S. products while gaining ever wider presence in U.S. markets. Op-Ed author Henry Olsen correctly points to Wall Street as an answer.

It is not widely understood that the Treasury Department plays a leading role in determining trade policy. In the 1990s, the Japanese government repeatedly blocked U.S. entry to its valuable car-parts market. But President Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin rejected the arguments of our then-ambassador in Tokyo, former Vice President Walter Mondale, to slap a tariff on a single Toyota model to show we were serious about gaining entry. Instead, Rubin felt it best not to disturb the “markets.”

Dennis J. Ortblad, Seattle