Why we\’d all really rather not have a trade policy at all

But on trade policy formulation, it seems that the right hand doesn’t always know what the left hand is doing. Last year, while magnesium imports from China were subject to U.S. antidumping duties, the Obama administration launched a WTO case against China for its restraints on exports of raw materials, including magnesium. That’s right. The U.S. government officially opposes China’s tax on exported magnesium because it imposes extra costs of U.S. consuming industries, but it insists on enforcing its own antidumping duties on magnesium imported from China despite those costs.

Even if Ja Hoon Chang and the rest were right, that infant industry protection works (they\’re not) then we\’d still have whatever the trade policy is being created and enforced by the idiots in the government.

And that just ain\’t gonna work, is it?

(We have some interestingly similar hijackings of EU import tariffs: there\’s only one EU producer of rhenium and yes, there\’s an import tax on it. And no, they\’re not an infant industry nor do they face unfair competition. Just have a good lobbying office in Brussels. )

4 comments on “Why we\’d all really rather not have a trade policy at all

  1. I see the argument for a smarter policy, one that’s joined up and has intelligent policy objectives, a dumping rule more closely aligned to a predatory pricing law, but nothing here to say we should have none at all.

    Tim adds: The argument is that such rules will always be written by the fuckwits who become politicians so we will never be able to have smarter policy. That’s even without the regulatory capture that inevitably takes place.

  2. ….I see the argument for a smarter policy, one that’s joined up and has intelligent policy objectives…..

    That’s what they always say, but nobody ever manages to achieve it.

  3. Ah, so no laws at all, then. Or is there something special about trade rules? (“Such rules,” Tim, as opposed to which others?)

    “That’s what they always say, but nobody ever manages to achieve it.” So just give up then, along with the rest of this democratic law ‘n order nonsense?

  4. Well AM, the laws against murder, rape, theft and the like work pretty well so lets keep them. The laws restricting what freely consenting parties do with each other – by way of trade or otherwise – do not, and are wrong anyway so lets give up on them.

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