… is from page 12 of Razeen Sally’s important 1998 volume, Classical Liberalism and International Economic Order (original emphasis):
The ‘liberalism from below’ that is at the heart of classical liberal international political economy also entails a restatement of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century advocacy of unilateral commercial liberalisation.
DBx: Protectionists mistakenly think that they score points when they report that which is obvious to everyone with a pulse – namely, that most governments insist on obstructing their subjects’ freedom to trade.
The protectionist insists that government A’s insistence on obstructing its citizens’ freedom to trade means that government B cannot possibly implement a policy of free trade. The protectionist is in this insistence – as in all else that he insists upon – mistaken. All that is necessary for government B to implement a policy of free trade is for government B to remove all of the obstructions that it imposes on its citizens’ freedom to trade. Any obstructions to trade that government A continues to inflict upon its citizens are the business only of the the citizens of A and their rulers. These officious obstructions in A are not the business of the citizens of B or of the government of B.
Each and every government has the power to implement a policy of free trade. To do so, all that it must do is to cease and desist from its practice – in most cases long-standing – of imposing punitive taxes on, and obstacles to, its citizens’ peaceful choices to trade with foreigners.
Each and every government – if, contrary to fact, it genuinely respected the rights of its citizens and sought to promote their economic well-being – would implement a policy of free trade unilaterally.