Bryan Riley is a full-time advocate for free trade through his research and writing for The Heritage Foundation. He brings years of experience in trade and economic issues to his role as Jay Van Andel senior analyst in trade policy.
Working in Heritage’s Center for Trade and Economics, Riley contributes to the influential Index of Economic Freedom, which the think tank publishes annually in partnership with The Wall Street Journal. The 2011 edition measured 183 countries across 10 specific factors of economic freedom: The higher the score, the lower the level of government interference.
Canada retained its top ranking for economic freedom among North American nations measured in 2010, moving up one slot in the world rankings to sixth. The United States continued to lose ground with a ninth-place finish. The U.S. score of 77.8 was down 0.2 points—largely the result of big government spending increases and passage of a restrictive health care law. In the 2010 Index, the United States dropped from the ranks of economically “free” nations into the “mostly free” category.
Riley’s background includes management of grassroots campaigns in support of trade pacts such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, popularly known as NAFTA. When minivans became popular in the 1990s, for example, he helped defeat efforts to reclassify them as “cargo vehicles” instead of “passenger vehicles.” The “cargo” label would have subjected minivans and SUVs to an import tax of 25 percent.
Riley, who joined Heritage in 2010, especially enjoys serving as a myth-buster who counters inaccurate, misleading misinformation that hoodwinks the public and undermines free trade.
He grew up in Manhattan, Kansas. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Southern California. He currently resides in Washington, D.C., returning to the nation’s capital after several years in Kansas.