In every trade, a person is giving up something he values less for something he values more. Every time a shopper buys any item from another person, he has improved his standard of living, and so has the seller.
The British complained of unfair competition from goods supplied by the American colonists. So the state intervened to manage trade and make it "fair." But the American revolutionaries saw protectionism for the scam it was, and still is.
It is not "the US" that imports Japanese or Chinese electrical appliances, but an individual from the US, or a group of Americans. They import these appliances because they believe that a profit can be made. And governments ought not interfere in these transactions.