Of course we’re all aware that this very idea of a trade war is ludicrous. Each government is promising, with ever greater vehemence, to shoot their own population in the foot even more. For the people who pay tariffs are the people sheltered behind them. Canadians pay tariffs imposed by the Canadian government.
Now, even given all of that there are still even more stupid ways of conducting such impoverishing policy.
When Sen. Patrick Toomey looks at the future of the ketchup market in his home state of Pennsylvania, he sees real blood on the floor.
On Sunday, Canada’s $16.6-billion worth of retaliatory tariffs on dozens of U.S. products is set to kick in — the country’s answer to the crushing steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the Trump administration.
So ketchup is on the list.
From ketchup to toilet paper: Canada launching retaliatory tariffs
So’s toilet paper. So, it’ll be more difficult to choke down your poutines as a result, also more difficult to get rid of your poutines a day later. Well done there.
Still, there is at least some logic to some tariffs. No, on balance, they’re still stupid. But if you have domestic production of whatever it is then that domestic production can step up to supply consumers. If you’ve no such domestic production then the effect on consumers will be greater. So:
From ketchup to orange juice: Canada’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. will hit hard and wide
Orange Juice? How large is Canada’s domestic production of that? To a statistical estimate I’d say zero. So, all this actually manages is to make orange juice more expensive for Canadians. There aren’t even any domestic producers who might benefit.
Seriously, imposing tariffs on something that you don’t even produce, at all, domestically is the one thing even more stupid that having a trade war in the first place.