It’s Uncertainty About Idiot Politicians, Not Trade Restrictions Themselves, Which Is So Damaging

If someone comes out with a dingbat policy – say, we should all tax ourselves more for our temerity in buying from Johnny Foreigner – then that’s bad. But if we’ve had a series of dingbat policies then the truly damaging part becomes the uncertainty of what he next piece of dingbattery is going to be. Rather the problem with all politically directed policy of course, it’s terribly difficult to gauge how stupid the politicians are actually going to be:

Misdirection and the trade war malediction of 2018: Scaling the US–China bilateral tariff hikes
Simon Evenett, Johannes Fritz 01 July 2019

What is the practical and intellectual significance of the Sino-US tariff hikes of 2018?…

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Harley Davidson Profits Slump – This Is How Trade Wars Work Mr. Trump

As we all know every economist on the planet has been shouting that we don’t want to have a trade war. The reason being that such trade wars just make everyone poorer. Making people poorer not being known as a useful goal of economic policy. Of course, what does Donald Trump, egged on by Peter Navarro, actually go and do? Have a trade war.

The result is obvious, people become poorer:

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Benefits Of Brexit – No Deal, No Tariffs, Means Cheaper Prices On The High Street

Next tells us that if Brexit means leaving with no deal then it will pass on the benefits of lower or no import tariffs to consumers in the form of lower prices. Of course this will happen for so will everyone else pass on such lower costs to consumers. All of which rather shows that tariffs themselves are a bad idea as they raise costs to consumers. And, thus, obviously enough, the benefits of a no deal Brexit.…

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The Effect Of Brexit On The Price Of Coffee

We’re told that coffee will go up in price should we have the temerity to leave the European Union without a deal. This is the usual misunderstanding – or lie – about the effects of WTO tariffs of course.

Most coffee is traded in US dollars, meaning the price paid by British importers is affected by any market volatility – such as the Brexit vote, which caused a 13% drop in the value of sterling.

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If Only Spiked’s Phil Mullan Understood The Economics Of Trade

Trade’s not important we’re told, the trading arrangements after Brexit make little difference, be cool bro’. While the be cool injunction is fair enough that’s not actually how the economics of trade do work out. Trade’s actually vitally important for the very reason Mullan gives us that it’s not.

Which is pretty good going even for someone at a place as contrarian as Spiked.

Tariffs are a distraction
It isn’t trade that drives growth and prosperity.

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Trump’s Tariffs On China Kill Rare Earth Mining In US

The background here is entirely true, the Trump Administration’s tariffs on products coming in from China are killing the ability to mine rare earths in the United States. This isn’t, perhaps, quite what you would think should be happening. However, the solutions here are twofold and really rather simple. The situation itself should, in fact, make the situation easier. I would note, in passing, that I’ve extensive experience of the rare earth business and even called the last China trade war on the subject right.…

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Free The Bangladeshi Salt Industry – Kill The Import Tariffs

An interesting little puzzle from Bangladesh concerning the salt industry. The particular complaint is that certain nefarious types are subverting the tariff protection enjoyed by that Bangladeshi salt industry. There’re substantial tariffs upon the import of sodium chloride – 100% of value. Given that sodium sulphate is an input into the garments industry, that comes in near tariff free. And, of course, there are some who import the sulphate and convert to the chloride in order to beat said tariffs.…

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Indian Commerce Dept To Make Indians Poorer – 25% Duty On Solar Cells

The Indian Commerce Department is recommending that all Indians be made poorer. Not quite what we hope our own governments will do to us but common enough all the same. For they’ve decided that a 25% import duty should be imposed upon solar cells and panels. The reason being that those dastardly foreigners are willing to sell cells and panels cheaply. This would make Indians richer, they get more solar cell for their money – thus the Commerce Dept’s actions, for who would want their own citizenry to become richer?…

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The Mongolian Clusterhuddle Explaining Why India And Bangladesh Are Still Poor

It’s entirely possible – and true – to point out that both India and Bangladesh are actually rather rich places. They’re well above the historical level of living standards for example. And I’d be willing to take or place a bet on the idea that they currently provide a living standard better than the median human one of the past few millennia since we invented agriculture.

It’s also entirely possible – and true – to point out that India and Bangladesh are poor places.…

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