The Bush Administration, ardent free traders when it comes to U.S. industry’s access to other markets have imposed new import restrictions on Chinese textiles or European steel. According to the Financial Times: “This decision demonstrates the Bush administration’s commitment to our trade rules and to America’s workers,” said Don Evans, US commerce secretary.
Yeah, right. If free trade is a principal, try sticking to it unless the actual impact of an import will be to lower the workplace safety and treatment of workers, not using trade restrictions to compensate for lack of competitive offerings by American companies. Be for the worker by helping to create new industries and do that by helping people learn new skills. The extra billions of dollars in trade lost during a import/export skirmish with China could fund hundreds of thousands of educational courses and thousands of new businesses.
Invest in growing competitive advantages, don’t protect dying companies and their investors, who benefit far more than the workers from these restrictions.
This is another example of ham-handedness by the Bush Administration in foreign relations, which only reinforces the perception that the U.S. wants only its way and that other countries only options are summed up in the phrase “You’re with us or against us.”