We recently discussed a bipartisan group of Senators and House members who correctly identified a global trade problem and its negative domestic ramifications.
57 Senators and 152 House members…sign(ed) letters to Barack Obama Administration Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. In which they expressed concern about inexpensive Korean steel being in mass quantities imported here….
Why is the bipartisan contingent concerned about the cheap Korean steel dumping? American job loss.
“U.S. steel producers employ 8,000 workers across the country making OCTG. Each of these jobs supports seven additional jobs in the supply chain and the steel produced for the U.S. energy market accounts for approximately ten percent of domestic production.”
These officials are asking the Administration to ensure Korea is adhering to its trade pact commitments.
“As this case proceeds, we urge you to ensure that the Department’s investigation is objective and accurate and to closely verify the information submitted by the Korean producers. Strict and full enforcement of our trade laws is essential for the future of the U.S. steel industry, its workers, and steel communities throughout the country.”
Which is of course perfectly reasonable. If Korea isn’t doing what it said it would, there should be consequences and repercussions. As Mexico too is hopefully about to find out.
For the long run, we need to begin laying the groundwork for making these trade deals a whole lot freer – and fairer. Far less complicated – and thus much better. And thus easier with which to comply – and when necessary to enforce.
To get there, we need less government domestically.
The damage being done by (the U.S.) government to (its) domestic manufacturing and production has been awful and increasing – for decades. As government piled on ever higher taxes and more and more laws and regulations, more and more domestic production became internationally-manufactured imports.
We have the industrialized world’s absolute highest corporate income tax rate. The cost of the regulations we dump on businesses is simply stunning – more than $1.8 trillion per year. And then we wonder why less and less people want to do business here….
Korea can make steel – and then ship it half way round the world – and still price it below our domestic production in (large) part because…our domestic price of government is so incredibly huge.
And we need less government from governments all over the world.
“Trade Wars” actually aren’t about trade – they are about government trade policy. If peoples are trading freely, there isn’t a “War” – there’s commerce. The “Wars” only happen when governments get involved – placing tariffs, regulations and subsidies in the way of the flow.
It becomes a regulatory arms race. A government imposes another subsidy or tax. So several others in response impose new subsidies and taxes of their own. Lather, rinse, repeat.
It is neither free nor fair trade when a nation’s industry succeeds not by by being better – but by being better government-subsidized and tarriff-protected.
So we need to as much as possible get governments out of the Trade-War-making, industries-and-markets-warping business.
Let businesses self-determine – with their goods, services and prices in unfettered competition.
The more government we can peel back – both here and abroad – the more jobs and the freer and fairer trade we all will have.
Editor’s Note: This first appeared in Human Events.