No politician can accept a burden on his country's products so that another country's industry might flourish.
All tariffs hurt the importing country eventually. That is why this country, based on free market economics, has been struggling since it was a collection of agrarian colonies to lower tariffs and trade barriers. The result has been the greatest increase of average wealth in human history. This was accomplished within the phenomenal population growth. It wasn't socialism that brought prosperity to the planet. It was free markets and entrepreneurship.
For an excellent counter-example, look at Argentina. At one time Argentina had an economy much like ours and a similar GDP. Peron promied his people an egalitarian state in which the government would provide cradle to grave services. His government democratically enacted protective tariffs for his heavy industry. He also democratically took control of major domestic industry. His people were ecstatic. He enacted some of the most comprehensive labor reform outside of the USSR. Domestic heavy industry, with no competition, was under no pressure to innovate or keep costs down. Wages rose. Social programs expanded. Products became overpriced and quality decreased. Consumers turned to black markets or paid the insufferably high tariffs just to improve the quality of their lives. The Argentine economy declined. Nobody wanted any Argentine finished goods, just beef, wool, and grain. What did the government do? Nationalize more industries and raise more tariffs, of course. Raise taxes on the wealthy. Social unrest followed as unemployment and inflation increased. Government corrupted as it entwined with companies it owned and regulated. Insurrection followed.
I love the humor of "based on free market economics". We have not had a free market economy, nor have we participated in one that is "based on free market economics" in well over a century.
When was the last time you bartered for a commodity or set your own prices for anything?
You say that "no politician can accept a burden on his country's products so that another country's industry might flourish". We have trade agreements all the time. Some work well, some suck [see NAFTA].
Much of what brought our growth over the past 240 years, or more exactly the past 140 years when we became a trade power was due to OUR strength in the market. WE became the big dog in the trading pack. The rest of the trading world did two things. They played a subservient role to the US Economy AND they bartered trade agreements with the rest of their more equal trading partners.
Enter the 21st Century. We are no longer the big dog in the trading pack. We have outsourced our remaining manufacturing, sold the rest to third world companies [quickly becoming second and first world countries] and have allowed our dollar to devalue to where it is no longer the strong trading tool that it was.
So the free market, free enterprise system that we really never had is even less relevant now as we move into parity with countries that are bigger, more economically sound and maintain the manufacturing base on which WE used to pride ourselves.
Trade negotiations are the only way to insure a parity and allow growth since we no longer have a manufacturing or intellectual properties sector with which to rebound. The alternatives are a collective of folks working for government and folks asking each other if we want fries with that. We have cut out much of the other options available to us. Only New Energy Technology has the growth potential to help build us out of this and we are about a decade behind on that endeavor.