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The current strength of the dollar, which is causing so much difficulty for some of your industries, creates obvious pressures for special cases, for new trade barriers to a free market. I am certain that your Administration is right to resist such pressures. To give in to them would betray the millions in the developing world, to say nothing of the strains on your other trading partners. The developing countries need our markets as we need theirs, and we cannot preach economic adjustment to them and refuse to practise it at home.

The above text is in Margaret Thatcher's Speech to Congress, I am not very clear about the phrase "for new trade barriers to a free market.” I think this phrase is the same as "for special cases", which served as the indirect object of "creates". Is that right? However, if so, the meaning seems not clear. What does "The current strength of the dollar creates obvious pressures for new trade barriers to a free market." mean? Does it mean that the strength of the dollar creates pressures for not building new trade barriers to a free market?

I really need your help.

2 Answers 2

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Does it mean that the strength of the dollar creates pressures for not building new trade barriers to a free market?

No, it means the opposite.

She says that due to the strength of the dollar, American industries are facing difficulties (possibly due to exports becoming less competitive). As a result, the government, which believes in a free market, faces pressures (e.g. lobbying from such industries) to make exceptions for them (treating their issues as "special cases") by adding new trade barriers (to protect them).

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  • Thank you so much.
    – Henry Wang
    Jul 24, 2019 at 8:31
  • BTW, What is the meaning of "for" here? Does it mean "purpose"?
    – Henry Wang
    Jul 24, 2019 at 9:04
  • It would be closer to "in support of". You could replace the "for" with "against" ("against new trade barriers") and it would mean the opposite.
    – GoodDeeds
    Jul 24, 2019 at 9:15
  • It is not the government that would add the trade barriers. The strong dollar is the trade barrier.
    – Lambie
    Aug 23, 2019 at 20:59
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How is this an English language question? It's really about international trade, not the language.

Anyway, when the dollar is strong (buys more relative another currency), it's expensive for non-dollar holders (or countries) to do business with the U.S. They have to spend more of their own currency to obtain dollars. Therefore, they will tend to do less business (trade) with the U.S. so this constitutes a trade barrier for them. That is because they have to pay for good they purchase in the U.S. in dollars.

For example, the dollar right now is worth 0.89 euros. The Europeans have to spend 0.89 dollars for every dollar they buy when they trade in dollars with the US (buy US goods).

If the dollar goes up, say, to 0.99 euros per dollar, they would have to spend an additional 10 euro cents for every dollar they buy.

A dollar worth 0.99 to the euro is stronger than a dollar worth 0.89 but it would make some companies (and travelers) a little more hesitant to do business.

This hesitation or decision not to trade (or travel) due to a strong US dollar (or any other currency, they all work the same way) is called a trade barrier.

The "free market" part is just Thatcherism talking. Free trade means trade with quotas, tariffs or restrictions. For Thatcher here, free trade would be hindered by a strong dollar. It would restrict trade. In fact, trade is never completely free because there are always some restrictions (depending on the industry, like pharmaceuticals or weapons).

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