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Why Might Dumping Occur?

Why would foreign firms export a product at less than its cost of production—which presumably means taking a loss? This question has two possible answers, one innocent and one more sinister.

The innocent explanation is that market prices are set by demand and supply, not by the cost of production. Perhaps demand for a product shifts back to the left or supply shifts out to the right, which drives the market price to low levels—even below the cost of production. When a local store has a going-out-of-business sale, for example, it may sell goods at below the cost of production. If international companies find that there is excess supply of steel or computer chips or machine tools that is driving the market price down below their cost of production—this may be the market in action.

The sinister explanation is that dumping is part of a long-term strategy. Foreign firms sell goods at prices below the cost of production for a short period of time, and when they have driven out the domestic U.S. competition, they then raise prices. This scenario is sometimes called predatory pricing, which is discussed in the Monopoly chapter.

Should Anti-Dumping Cases Be Limited?

Anti-dumping cases pose two questions. How much sense do they make in economic theory? How much sense do they make as practical policy?

In terms of economic theory, the case for anti-dumping laws is weak. In a market governed by demand and supply, the government does not guarantee that firms will be able to make a profit. After all, low prices are difficult for producers, but benefit consumers. Moreover, although there are plenty of cases in which foreign producers have driven out domestic firms, there are zero documented cases in which the foreign producers then jacked up prices. Instead, foreign producers typically continue competing hard against each other and providing low prices to consumers. In short, it is difficult to find evidence of predatory pricing by foreign firms exporting to the United States.

Even if one could make a case that the government should sometimes enact anti-dumping rules in the short term, and then allow free trade to resume shortly thereafter, there is a growing concern that anti-dumping investigations often involve more politics than careful analysis. The U.S. Commerce Department is charged with calculating the appropriate “cost of production,” which can be as much an art as a science.

For example, if a company built a new factory two years ago, should part of the factory’s cost be counted in this year’s cost of production? When a company is in a country where prices are controlled by the government, like China for example, how can one measure the true cost of production? When a domestic industry complains loudly enough, government regulators seem very likely to find that unfair dumping has occurred. Indeed, a common pattern has arisen where a domestic industry files an anti-dumping complaint, the governments meet and negotiate a reduction in imports, and then the domestic producers drop the anti-dumping suit. In such cases, anti-dumping cases often appear to be little more than a cover story for imposing tariffs or import quotas.

Questions & Answers

what is per capita income
Kafwimbi Reply
what is GDP of an economy
Kafwimbi
Gross Domestic Product
grace
Why is scarcity the main problem of economics
Nicholas Reply
Because of unlimited needs and wants demanded by the household
Jeremiah
what is GDP deflator?
saud
how to calculate price elasticity demand?
Precious Reply
change in quantity over quantity divided by change in price over price
Pele
if the local pizzeria raises the price of a medium pizza from Rd.60to 100 & quantity demanded falls from 700 pizzas a night to 100 pizzas at night , the price elasticity of demand for pizzas is:
Lakshmi Reply
1.2. Measurement of price Elasticity of demand
Lakshmi
explain how price and output are determind by a discriminating monopolist
Hiraj Reply
price and output determined through interaction between demand curve and supply curve...
Ajay
how do I view the graphs
Patricia Reply
how do I open the links
Patricia
what is the markert
Ester Reply
A market is any place where buying and selling can take place.
Landing
20. Why is a football game on ESPN a quasi-public good but a game on the NBC, CBS, or ABC is a public good?
Brigam Reply
how people make decision?
Xafsa Reply
what is supply and demand
Xafsa Reply
Demand refers to how much (quantity) of a product or service is desired by buyers. The quantity demanded is the amount of a product people are willing to buy at a certain price.
Landing
thank you very much
Xafsa
list and briefly explain the three principles that describe how the economy as whole works?
Xafsa
what is algebra?
ibiflower Reply
what is the relationship between price and demand
Evans Reply
the relation ship between price and demand is the income and Utility means when you are satisfied and you can buy it then you have to demand it.Thanks
Abdulkadir
who thought u that? you are not answering this as an economist
Evans
alright, but can you tell how the economist will be answered
Abdulkadir
alright, but can you tell me how the economist will be answered
Abdulkadir
Law of demanded  states: As price  of a good increases, the quantity demanded  of the good falls, and as the price  of a good decreases, the quantity demanded of the good rises.
Lewis
So, there is an inverse relationship between price and demand.
Lewis
lewis answered it perfectly
Evans
I want for market value for price. or cleance
Samantha
time ticket of value market down so double be self 1.09 but I 10 chesse for 1.09 bugger
Samantha
hi
Langanani
Without scarcity there would be no subject call Economics. Explain why?
Landing
because economics is the study of scarcity of resources and the satisfaction of basic human need
Pele
give an example of some action that has both amonetary and nonmonetary apportunity cost?
Aisha Reply
any action can be argued to have both. For instance, being in class has the opportunity cost of time you could be spent earning wages, or time that could've been spent leisurely.
DASRAT
absolutely
Abdulkadir
Really
DASRAT
there is no any action that hasn't both a monetary and non-monetary as said Mr Dasrat
Abdulkadir
thanks
Aisha
u Welcome
Abdulkadir
describe an important trade-off you recently faced?
Aisha Reply
Financial issues and careerPersonal life and work lifeMost people don't like the work they do. The interest they have is something different from the work they do and eventually forgo their interest. These are the three most important tradeoffs I have come across, yet there may be many in number.
DASRAT
still
Abdulkadir
Yah still
DASRAT
yes
Abdulkadir
why people make the choices they make and how economist go about explaining those choices
Asim Reply
what is tradeoffs
Asim
giving up one thing to have another
Shriyash

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Source:  OpenStax, Microeconomics. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11627/1.10
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