14 September 2009

1, 2, 3, 4 Obama declares a trade war

Forbes.com | Tire Trade Tiff Rolls On: China hits back after the U.S. imposes duties on Chinese tires.

HONG KONG -- Just two days after the United States slapped Chinese tire imports with hefty tariffs, Beijing has hit back by saying it would launch an anti-dumping investigation into automobile and chicken products from the U.S.


The "protectionist" policy that seems to have triggered the Chinese tit-for-tat investigation was an order signed on Friday by President Barack Obama that imposes a 35% tariff on tires imported from China on top of the existing import duty of 4%.
Splendid. A trade war is totally what we need right now. I am really loving this transformative, Obama-era politics of hop├źnchange, because I completely agree that it's more important to reward your steel worker buddies during a recession than it is to keep trade flowing.

(Here's a bigger-picture take on protectionism from the Weekly Standard.)

If limiting trade was a good idea, wouldn't we be rewarding Cuba and North Korea by enforcing embargoes?
Protective tariffs are as much applications of force as are blockading squadrons, and their objective is the same: to prevent trade. The difference between the two is that blockading squadrons are a means whereby nations seek to prevent their enemies from trading; protective tariffs are a means whereby nations attempt to prevent their own people from trading.

— Henry George, "Protection or Free Trade," 1886
If limiting trade was a good idea, Africa would be the richest place on Earth. William Easterly has some great images — top to bottom, that's shipping routes, airline routes, and IP addresses. Practically the whole southern hemisphere is desolate.

1 comment:

  1. Not to mention that cheap tires are now more expensive.

    Thanks, Mr. President.