The Libertarian Party supports the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders.
This would imply that policies such as export restraints, regulatory barriers, anti-dumping duties, subsidies, tariffs, embargoes and quotas should not exist.
Here is the Libertarian Party Platform for more info.
Some selected viewpoints below:
In August of 1970, Friedman’s Newsweek op-ed titled “Free Trade” was in response to a bill Congress was considering at that time to impose import quotas on textiles and shoes to protect the textile industry in the Carolinas from foreign competition and cheap imports. The “favorite whipping boy” of the protectionists back then was Japan, and Friedman referred to Japan throughout his article. I’ve taken the liberty of modifying and updating Friedman’s op-ed slightly by substituting China for Japan in order to reflect the “favorite whipping boy” of today’s protectionists. And I’ve also updated the last paragraph to reflect today’s favored domestic industries being artificially protected from competition with Trump’s tariffs.
The proponents of protectionism say, “Free trade is fine in theory but it must be reciprocal. We cannot open our markets to foreign products if foreigners close their markets to us.” China, they argue, to use their favorite whipping boy, “keeps her vast internal market for the private domain of Chinese industry but then pushes her products into the U.S. market and complains when we try to prevent this unfair tactic.”
The argument sounds reasonable. It is, in fact, utter nonsense. Exports are the cost of trade, imports the return from trade, not the other way around.
Suppose China were incredibly successful in her alleged attempt to restrict imports into China, managing to dispense with them entirely. Suppose that China were incredibly successful in her alleged attempts to push exports to the U.S., managing to sell us large quantities of assorted goods. What would China do with the dollars she received for her exports? Take crisp greenbacks back to Beijing to stash in the vaults of the Bank of China? Let deposits at U.S. banks pile up? Jolly for us. Can you think of a better deal than our getting fine textiles, shiny cars and sophisticated TV sets for a bale of green printed paper? Or for some entries on the books of banks? If the Chinese would only be willing to keep on doing that, we can provide all the green paper they will take.
China does impose numerous restrictions on trade—though in recent years she has been reducing them. Those trade restrictions hurt China and they hurt us—by denying them and us mutually profitable trade. In China no less than in the U.S., concentrated producers exert a greater influence on government than widely diffused consumers and are able to persuade the government to fleece the consumer for the benefit of the producers.
However, we only increase the hurt to us—and also to them—by imposing additional restrictions in our turn. The wise course for us is precisely the opposite—to move unilaterally toward free trade. If they still choose to impose restrictions, that is too bad but at least we have not added insult to injury.
This is clearly the right course for action on economic grounds. But it is also the only course of action that is in keeping with our political position in the world. We are a great nation, the leader of the free world. Yet we squander our political power to appease the steel, aluminum and washing machine industries! We should instead be setting a standard for the world by practicing the freedom of competition, of trade and of enterprise that we preach.
Trump Is Terrible on Trade. Top 2020 Dems Are No Better.
Stossel: Trump's Steel Tariffs Will Hurt Americans
Trump tariff is a tax, and I don’t like taxes: Ron Paul
The United States would benefit from a policy of unilateral free trade — whether or not other countries follow suit.
Any country that establishes trade barriers and tariffs hurts its own residents more than it hurts foreign producers.
— Libertarian Party (@LPNational) September 5, 2019
We need an alternative to #war! The best defense is to have no enemies. #Trade turns enemies into friends by increasing the wealth of both nations. Trade with every nation may be the best “defense” of all! #antiwar #libertarian pic.twitter.com/pLV8SYjEOJ
— Mary J. Ruwart Ph.D. (@MaryRuwart) September 5, 2019
Ultimately, tariffs function as a regressive sales tax on American consumers, raising the prices of imports in order to prop up favored industries with political connections.
Become a member and get this "Tariffs Are Taxes That Americans Pay" tshirt: https://t.co/Mut3SF3DXJ
— Libertarian Party (@LPNational) September 5, 2019
If you are a free market conservative, and you are actually voting for this guy, I am at a loss for words
Also, if you are a Libertarian or you view yourself as a Libertarian-Leaning GOP, please look up “authoritarian” which is the antithesis of Libertarianism pic.twitter.com/LuURC4Ar9J
— Libertarian-In-Chief (@ToddHagopian) August 24, 2019