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Key Component of Actually Free Trade: Punishing Bad Actors
Finally - We’re Using Both
We have long roundly ridiculed what has passed for “free trade” in Washington, D.C.
Where we remove nigh all of our government impediments to the goods and services of every other nation on the planet. And nigh no other country returns the favor. Nations the world over impose all sorts of tariffs and regulatory impediments upon anything we wish to export to them.
About which we have done absolutely nothing. For decades.
It’s the same story - over and over and over again. We get beaten and abused throughout the duration of an existing trade deal. About which we do…nothing. And then we sit down to negotiate the next trade deal - acting as if the beatings and abuse haven’t been happening. And we blithely cut another, idiotically similar new trade deal - that allows the beatings and abuse to continue unabated.
Lather, rinse, repeat. For decades.
This is quite simply…titanically stupid. What it isn’t - is actually free, fair trade.
Our dumb trade deals have made it omni-directional easier to access our world’s-largest-market - from anywhere on the planet besides here. If you want unimpeded access to our $18-trillion-a-year economy - you’re infinitely better off importing from anywhere else than you are producing here.
It isn’t the only reason we’ve spent the last several decades hemorrhaging millions of jobs - but it is a huge one.
Enter Donald Trump. Who has for decades decried this dumbness. Here he is in 1988 - decrying the dumbness on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” He ran his outsider campaign for President - in no small part on ending the dumbness.
And Trump won. And he is - as promised - addressing the dumbness.
Commerce (Department) Establishes Advisory Council on Trade Enforcement and Compliance: “The ACTEC is a government-business forum that will seek ‘stakeholder input regarding current and emerging issues in trade enforcement and compliance matters.’”
This article is dated…February 16, 2017. Which means prior to that - there was no Commerce Department Council on Trade Enforcement and Compliance.
Where American businessmen and women can now consult with our government - about how they are getting screwed on their exports by governments all over the planet.
Decades and decades of DC “free trade” deals - and it wasn’t until February of this year that our businesses had an outlet with our government to discuss the rampant trade abuses they have so long suffered.
Because DC, from all appearances, hasn’t seen our domestic businesses as worth the effort. DC really is a very stupid, very awful place.
And now, finally, abuses abroad - are being viewed as abuses. And treated as such:
Now let us now note: Are we in favor of new tariffs on imports to the US? Of course not.
Are we in favor of new tariffs on imports to the US - to get the world’s other governments to drop their tariffs on our exports, at which point we will drop the tariffs on their exports?
Which will work…in about five seconds - because our market is exponentially more attractive than any other market on the planet? You bet your tariff we are.
Who needs whom more - US, or China? US, or Argentina and Indonesia? It isn’t even close. These nations will rapidly fold like cheap tents.
And then there will be much less government on all sides - rather than just ours. And the prices of goods and services will fall everywhere for everyone.
How do we know this will work? Because it already is working.
U.S., Mexico Clear Way for NAFTA with New Deal on Sugar Trade: “‘The Mexican side has agreed to nearly every request by the U.S. industry to address flaws in the current system and to ensure fair treatment of American sugar growers,’ Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said at a news conference Tuesday.”
Speaking of sugar - and ridiculous government impositions on the global marketplace (because governments screw up the marketplace with way more than just tariffs):
An Ag Subsidy Dream: “(World Trade Organization) WTO members this week also wrapped up a session of agriculture talks where they discussed a deluge of six new proposals on farm subsidies….
“On the top of the pile was a proposal led by the European Union (EU) and Brazil that aims to limit trade-distortive support by setting a percentage threshold on the amount of support a country can provide as it relates to the total value of its agricultural production. The EU at the meeting said the proposal ‘provides a new architecture which would put all WTO members on the same basis and encourage reform efforts,’ according to a Geneva trade official.”
Brazil subsidizes just their sugar - to the trade-distortive tune of $4 billion per year. How distortive is that? More than one hundred countries sell sugar on the global market - and Brazil’s super-subsidized sugar controls almost half of all trade action.
Now that’s distortive.
And thanks to President Trump’s new approach to global trade - Brazil (and the EU) are now willing to discuss reducing or ending said trade-distortive subsidies.
Oh: And as Brazil, the EU and the rest of the planet start shedding their agriculture subsidies - we can start shedding ours. Goodbye, finally, to our Farm Bill.
The US has for decades employed the carrot-and-carrot approach to trade. And that’s worked spectacularly well for everyone on the planet - except US.
Trump has introduced the stick - to accompany the carrot. And it is already working wonders - for US. And everyone else on the planet.
This first appeared in Red State.