Thursday, June 4, 2015

nobody wins a trade war

The Canadian government has a beef with an american law requiring stringent country-of-origin labelling on meat products and is now threatening retaliatory tariffs on a whole slew of goods if the law is not repealed. But is it really wise to use Canadian consumers as human shields in an effort to force Americans to eat more Canadian AAA? The sanguine response to any foreign impediment on free trade (especially something as benign as a labelling law) would be to remain apathetic in the face of foreign protectionism. The best approach is one of unilateral free trade. We can only really control what we do, not what other people do, and by far the best strategy for Canadians is to embrace free trade. Instead of imposing quotas, subsidies or tariffs we should remove these wherever they exist without concern for whether or not our actions are reciprocated. Domestic producers should be exposed to foreign competition; they must either improve their process and be able to provide the consumer with a superior product or a lower price or go under and let their capital be acquired by someone who can. The death of a firm in a market economy is a healthy process not should not be grieved. Nor should we complain if a foreign government subsidizes their producers and this results in a cheaper product than we can make here. The impact of this policy is for foreign taxpayers to indirectly subsidize Canadian consumers. Well what's wrong with that?

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