In the 1990s, trade protests made the news. Consumers and economists generally favored free trade, because low tariffs and quotas made imported goods cheaper and promoted efficient production. Many politicians liked protectionist policies, believing they maintained jobs and cultural traditions. Workers’ reactions varied, depending on how policies affected them.
Trade negotiators often make rules without local input. In 1989, Congress banned the import of shrimp from any country that did not require turtle excluders on shrimp nets. Mexico, Malaysia, India, and Pakistan filed a protest with the World Trade Organization (WTO). Demonstrators objected to free trade coming before the environment.