Friday, December 05, 2003

Steel Tariffs Taken Down

The economist perspective (you might need a subscription, email me for one)

It contains the best use of a latin phrase I've seen in a while:

All of this [steel industry became strong in US] has happened since the tariffs were introduced, but did any of it happen because they were introduced? Gary Clyde Hufbauer of the Institute for International Economics (IIE), a Washington think-tank, warns against the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy

Any restriction on free trade (including subsidies from foreign governments to aid their own steel industries) should be eliminated, with the exception of provisions to ensure domestic law isn't violated (such as sweat-shops spinning silk in India).
I see no reason why commercial interests should usurp labor laws. This is an issue with NAFTA and other free trade organizations that still needs to be resolved. In the case of Mexico, regardless of how your Cathy-Lee sweater was made, we are obligated by law to import it without restriction. Because what goes into a product is often hidden from the final consumer, there must be some other level of enforcement, rather than letting supply/demand take care of it (as I would usually suggest).

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