Tariffs Are Bad, and Clever‐​Sounding Substitutes for Tariffs Are Just as Bad

My colleague Scott Lincicome wrote about a NY Times piece that discussed “the Biden White House’s plans to ‘transform the economy’ through ‘dramatic interventions to revive U.S. manufacturing’ — heavy on economic nationalism, industrial planning, and manufacturing jobs.” Scott focused on economic nationalism in the auto sector. I’m going to add a point about different kinds of protectionist measures to … Continue reading Tariffs Are Bad, and Clever‐​Sounding Substitutes for Tariffs Are Just as Bad

Tariffs (That Biden Won’t Remove) Threaten the U.S. Manufacturing Recovery (That Biden Wants)

Bloomberg reports that American steelmakers are imperiling President Biden’s goal of boosting the U.S. manufacturing sector and might, in fact, cause more industrial offshoring: Producers that shut furnaces in response to falling demand during the early stages of the coronavirus are still operating plants at well below pre‐​pandemic levels, even as recovering economies and tight supplies drive prices higher. … Continue reading Tariffs (That Biden Won’t Remove) Threaten the U.S. Manufacturing Recovery (That Biden Wants)

The Global Chip Shortage Doesn’t Demand Supply Chain Nationalism

The global semiconductor shortage roiling the U.S. automotive industry has become the latest pandemic‐​induced supply chain disruption embraced by economic nationalists to justify their preferred trade and industrial policies — policies that would renationalize global supply chains and supposedly improve America’s economic “resilience” during future emergencies. President Biden is also reportedly considering an executive action to address … Continue reading The Global Chip Shortage Doesn’t Demand Supply Chain Nationalism

Will Biden Repeat Trump’s Automotive Mistakes?

The New York Times [ Feb. 11] provided an in-depth look at the Biden White House's plans to "transform the economy" through "dramatic interventions to revive U.S. manufacturing" - heavy on economic nationalism, industrial planning, and manufacturing jobs. If that approach sounds familiar, it should: it's essentially the same gameplan that Biden's predecessor used, with the only major … Continue reading Will Biden Repeat Trump’s Automotive Mistakes?

The World Trade Organization Gets It Wrong: It Is Not the Government’s Job to Pick Innovators

The World Trade Organization has released a new report that offers recommendations to world governments on how to stimulate innovation in digital economies. Regrettably, the policy recommendations are heavy on big government intervention and ignore a fundamental principal of free-market economics: that governments should first and foremost get out of the way of competitive entrepreneurial activity. The … Continue reading The World Trade Organization Gets It Wrong: It Is Not the Government’s Job to Pick Innovators

Congress Acquiesces to Tariffs by Fiat

This post is to call your attention to a brand new paper of mine titled “Tariffs by Fiat: The Widening Chasm between U.S. Antidumping Policy and the Rule of Law.” First, some background. Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress authority “to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises…and to regulate commerce with foreign … Continue reading Congress Acquiesces to Tariffs by Fiat

Five Issues with Biden’s Supply Chain Plan

The ever‐​fading hope that a Biden administration would look fondly on free trade is becoming more of a free trader’s dying wish than a realistic expectation. The problem with this narrative, of course, was the Trump administration’s embrace of a laundry list of ideas long held by Congressional Democrats, which made them more likely to agree with him than to … Continue reading Five Issues with Biden’s Supply Chain Plan

Determining America’s “Dependence” on China for Essential Medical Goods

The unfortunate onset of COVID-19 has caused many politicians and pundits to proclaim that the United States is distressingly dependent on China for essential medical goods, and to ask whether this “dependence” demands new government programs—in particular, protectionism, subsidies and “Buy American” procurement mandates—to fix the alleged problem. A little‐​noticed report from United States International Trade Commission (ITC) begins to provide the … Continue reading Determining America’s “Dependence” on China for Essential Medical Goods

USMCA Marks New Chapter for North American Trade

For more than 25 years, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which built the continent into one of the most efficient and competitive trade blocs in the world, has been the law of the land. On July 1, rules for trade in North America will change with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement entering into force. USMCA … Continue reading USMCA Marks New Chapter for North American Trade