Free Markets, Free People

Obama, NAFTA, Mexico, China, Trade and Tariffs

Our congratulations go out to the Obama administration on their latest foreign policy and trade triumph. Last week, apparently without consultation, they did away with a NAFTA pilot program which allowed Mexican trucks to deliver goods to certain areas of the US. Mexico has responded:

Mexico has released the list of U.S. products that will see tariffs of 10 percent to 45 percent. The move is in retaliation for the U.S. scrapping a test program allowing Mexican trucks to deliver goods beyond a U.S. border zone.

Among affected goods are certain fruits and vegetables, wine, juices, sunglasses, toothpaste and coffee, according to a government statement. Most tariffs are 10 percent to 20 percent, with unspecified fresh products subject to a 45 percent charge. The tariffs will apply to $2.4 billion of goods and take effect today.

Just what you need in a down economy – punitive tariffs for political stupidity. And there won’t be a solution anytime soon:

Talks to diffuse the first [self-inflicted -ed.] trade dispute of President Barack Obama’s administration can’t begin until the U.S. has a Commerce Secretary, Economy Minister Gerardo Ruiz Mateos said.

So far I’m really not at all impressed with the status of the “better relations” throughout the world promised by the Obama administration.

Oh, and for an encore, how about this little goodie:

Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Tuesday advocated adjusting trade duties as a “weapon” to protect U.S. manufacturing, just a day after one of China’s top climate envoys warned of a trade war if developed countries impose tariffs on carbon-intensive imports.

Mr. Chu, speaking before a House science panel, said establishing a carbon tariff would help “level the playing field” if other countries haven’t imposed greenhouse-gas-reduction mandates similar to the one President Barack Obama plans to implement over the next couple of years. It is the first time the Obama administration has made public its view on the issue.

“If other countries don’t impose a cost on carbon, then we will be at a disadvantage…[and] we would look at considering perhaps duties that would offset that cost,” Mr. Chu said.



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7 Responses to Obama, NAFTA, Mexico, China, Trade and Tariffs

  • I did not realize Obama was an admirer of the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1929.  Even back in the day, over 1,000 economists petitioned Hoover to veto the act.  The petition was ignored and a severe recession turned into the great depression.  Oh the joys of having a leader of Obama’s so called intelligence not understanding the lessons of history.

    • Yes, somewhere Herbert Clark Hoover is sipping his coffee, reading the newspaper and having a serious WTF moment.

  • Nobody has more contempt for democrats (spit) than I do, but even I never dreamed that they would – COULD – be this monumentally stupid.

  • And this happens when we have such an experienced Sec. of State? What happened to all that White House experience? Where’s Bubba?

  • Speaking of Clintons, this is sort of reminiscent of their first year or so. Quite amusing really, if you like gallows humor.

  • *sigh*

    So let me see if I can envision how this plays out.  Product X  (we make) is manufacturable for 10$, as is Product Y (China makes).  We impose a carbon tax on our own industry, raising the cost to 12$.  Now to make ourselves competitive at home, we impose a tariff on China’s goods of 2$.  China retaliates by imposing a 2$ tariff on our goods over there.  So at home, we have a level playing field.  However, in China, their product is still 10$ while ours is 14$.   Hm….so crazy it might work!

  • I liked CHu better when he had the “deer-in-the-headlights” atitude at his meetings.  Having the Enrgy Secretary talk about levying duties to save our economy is just more of the same from Obama’s administration; know-nothings doing something, anything, in hopes that it’ll turn out all right.