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Trade policy at the national level

Yet another dimension of trade policy, along with international and regional trade agreements, happens at the national level. The United States, for example, imposes import quotas on sugar, because of a fear that such imports would drive down the price of sugar and thus injure domestic sugar producers. One of the jobs of the United States Department of Commerce is to determine if imports from other countries are being dumped. The United States International Trade Commission—a government agency—determines whether domestic industries have been substantially injured by the dumping, and if so, the president can impose tariffs that are intended to offset the unfairly low price.

In the arena of trade policy, the battle often seems to be between national laws that increase protectionism and international agreements that try to reduce protectionism, like the WTO. Why would a country pass laws or negotiate agreements to shut out certain foreign products, like sugar or textiles, while simultaneously negotiating to reduce trade barriers in general? One plausible answer is that international trade agreements offer a method for countries to restrain their own special interests. A member of Congress can say to an industry lobbying for tariffs or quotas on imports: “Sure would like to help you, but that pesky WTO agreement just won’t let me.”

If consumers are the biggest losers from trade, why do they not fight back? The quick answer is because it is easier to organize a small group of people around a narrow interest versus a large group that has diffuse interests. This is a question about trade policy theory. Visit this website and read the article by Jonathan Rauch.

In newspaper headlines, trade policy appears mostly as disputes and acrimony. Countries are almost constantly threatening to challenge the “unfair” trading practices of other nations. Cases are brought to the dispute settlement procedures of the WTO, the European Union, NAFTA, and other regional trading agreements. Politicians in national legislatures, goaded on by lobbyists, often threaten to pass bills that will “establish a fair playing field” or “prevent unfair trade”—although most such bills seek to accomplish these high-sounding goals by placing more restrictions on trade. Protesters in the streets may object to specific trade rules or to the entire practice of international trade.

Through all the controversy, the general trend in the last 60 years is clearly toward lower barriers to trade. The average level of tariffs on imported products charged by industrialized countries was 40% in 1946. By 1990, after decades of GATT negotiations, it was down to less than 5%. Indeed, one of the reasons that GATT negotiations shifted from focusing on tariff reduction in the early rounds to a broader agenda was that tariffs had been reduced so dramatically there was not much more to do in that area. U.S. tariffs have followed this general pattern: After rising sharply during the Great Depression, tariffs dropped off to less than 2% by the end of the century. Although measures of import quotas and nontariff barriers are less exact than those for tariffs, they generally appear to be at lower levels, too.

Thus, the last half-century has seen both a dramatic reduction in government-created barriers to trade, such as tariffs, import quotas, and nontariff barriers, and also a number of technological developments that have made international trade easier, like advances in transportation, communication, and information management. The result has been the powerful surge of international trade.

Key concepts and summary

Trade policy is determined at many different levels: administrative agencies within government, laws passed by the legislature, regional negotiations between a small group of nations (sometimes just two), and global negotiations through the World Trade Organization. During the second half of the twentieth century, trade barriers have, in general, declined quite substantially in the United States economy and in the global economy. One reason why countries sign international trade agreements to commit themselves to free trade is to give themselves protection against their own special interests. When an industry lobbies for protection from foreign producers, politicians can point out that, because of the trade treaty, their hands are tied.

References

United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2015. “Employment Situation Summary.” Accessed April 1, 2015. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm.

United States Department of Commerce. “About the Department of Commerce.” Accessed January 6, 2014. http://www.commerce.gov/about-department-commerce.

United States International Trade Commission. “About the USITC.” Accessed January 6, 2014. http://www.usitc.gov/press_room/about_usitc.htm.

Questions & Answers

(1).Income is the main determined of macro economics. (a). true (b). false
Manisha Reply
yes
Anjali
tell me correct ans with examples!!
Manisha
yes
The
what yes yes?
Manisha
mam actually I want to say that income is not the main determinant of macro economics.
The
based on your knowledge about the production possibility frontier,demonstrate an assumption of supposed schedule of ppe for the production of rice and face masks by Bangladesh.use graphical representation as well
Ashraf Reply
hay
Ashraf
hlo
Karan
can you answer this
Ashraf
whats tradeoff
JUSTIN Reply
tradeoff is a balance achieved between two desirable but conflicting things
Faith
can I read in Hindi?
Rashmi Reply
don't know..
Azka
why not
Omid
Omid Amini....how?
Rashmi
sure thing
Faith
mention two necessities of estimation of national income in india ?
Krishna Reply
what means the supply
Abdourahamane Reply
hello
mosisa
hii
SHWETA
hi
Aleem
its means amount of product available right now.
Aleem
is everything important here🙂
Alizy
I mean anything*
Alizy
u can read it
Aleem
it's mean something needed or wanted
Alizy
where are from shweta
Aleem
where are you from shweta
Aleem
Hello
Anas
it may mean the stock available
DR
to make something needed or wanted available to someone
Faith
is someone who manufactures something
Faith
What is the cost-benefit analysis?
Hannah Reply
A cost benefit analysis is a process by which organizations can analyze decisions, systems or projects, or determine a value for intangibles. The model is built by identifying the benefits of an action as well as the associated costs and subtracting the costs from benefits.
sanga
thanks!
Hannah
Cost benefit analysis is a process used primarily by businesses that weighs the sum of the benefits, such as financial gain, of an action against the negatives, or costs, of that action.
ALIM
process of cost benefit analysis and decision making crieteria
Santosh
hello everyone
BtsARMY
hello every one,
Dereje
hello everyone
waqar
what is the opportunity cost?
SHWETA
The next best option forgone is call the Opportunity cost of selection one.
Oshadi
who is producer?
rishabh Reply
karan johar
Mohd
shut up mr.mohd
rishabh
it's serious question..
rishabh
shut up mr.mohd
rishabh
simple who produce good
Alizy
who is aconsumer?
Ritik Reply
who uses the commodity
Kanza
a consumer is one that buys good for consumption .
rishabh
Kanza consumers uses the commodity..
rishabh
why do we put tariff on import goods
Salam Reply
Maybe to give national enterprises better opportunities than foreign ones... or just to get more money to the national budget in any way possible. I suppose it allows also to control import and therefore its influence on national economy and other countries economy too.
Pawe
i think to control import or for development of his own industry
RAJPOOTCHANAL
what were the events during the great depression that made classical economy tenets ineffective
Alby Reply
please what is the answer for the following question; derive the expression for a two sector Keynesian model from sowotuom land economy and state all the two components in the expression.
Alby Reply
No idea
ahmad
meaning nature and scope of macroeconomics
Diksha Reply
meaning of macroeconomics
Diksha
meaning of macroeconomics
Diksha
meaning of macroeconomics
Diksha
Macroeconomics covers aggregate or in simple words overall economy of country or world while microeconomics was just concerned with individual economies
Hamza
Hope this helped you, you can search it more on Google there is a YouTube page by the name of jacob Clifford
Hamza
How aggregate demand and output gap are related explain in the light of keynesian cross diagram
Muhammad Reply
what are the jobs of an economist
Shadrach Reply
study and predict economic indicators. give a economic base for polictical decision
mike

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Source:  OpenStax, Macroeconomics. OpenStax CNX. Jun 16, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11626/1.10
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