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Finance & Innovation

Confused About Free Trade? These Skittles Will Break it Down

In the first debate of the 2016 US presidential election, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump sparred over taxes, racism, domestic and international security, and much more.

One of the most substantial exchanges involved free trade, and trade agreements in general, which have also been one of the most discussed issues throughout the entire race for the presidency. 

Both candidates say they oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-country trading bloc led by the US, but the candidates disagree on how to handle trade in general. 

"Our jobs are fleeing the country. They're going to Mexico," Trump said. "They're going to many other countries. You look at what China is doing to our country in terms of making our product. They're devaluing their currency, and there's nobody in our government to fight them. And we have a very good fight. And we have a winning fight. Because they're using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China, and many other countries are doing the same thing."

Clinton said, "I think that trade is an important issue. Of course, we are 5% of the world's population; we have to trade with the other 95%. And we need to have smart, fair trade deals."

For all the talk, however, discussions of free trade don't always receive the nuance and depth that they deserve. Free trade is complex. Free trade happens in degrees and stages and is rarely "free" of stipulations. There are countless ways to structure trade agreements and they can have countless consequences — some good, some bad, many unpredictable. 

It's a very confusing topic but these Skittles help break down the issue of trade in a very (ahem) digestible way.


The video above was created by the Eurasia Group, a non-partisan research firm helping investors and business firms understand foreign markets.