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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

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
what is demand
Asim Reply
why demand and supply interact in a market
Asim
In the supply and demand model of price determination, there is never a surplus or shortage of goods at the equilibrium level. The market always settles at the point where supply equalsdemand. If demand increases (decreases) and supply is unchanged, then it leads to a higher (lower) equilibrium pric
DASRAT
why demand is based on need and wants ?
Asim
because there is scarcity of resources,whether you can not get whatever you want one time so you have to chooseen which you will choose that is your needs(basic) after that you can demand it on the other hand,every society would demand their basic needs when they recognized it. so ther is no demand
Abdulkadir
there is no demand if there is no needs and wants
Abdulkadir
Because when you have need and your wants is depends upon demand
DASRAT
what is other causes
Asim
overall demand is coused by an income and price,if the price satisfies to you and your income is enough to you the you will demand whatever you want
Abdulkadir
what is satiety ?
Asim
what is a different between marginal cost and marginal benefit
Ndumiso Reply
What is Tradeoff
Oumie Reply
What is traoff
Oumie Reply
It's tariff not traoff
DASRAT
I mean Tradeoff
Oumie
a balance achieved between two desirable but incompatible features; a compromise.
SHARMAKE
Thanks
Oumie
these problems of scarcity are been face by household companies and nation at large
Muafue Reply
will you please explain it more😭
kainat
i am economist and i need helping to be perfect person in that field
Dr
okay
kainat
Hey
DASRAT
yup
kainat
hi
louh
scarcity is inevitable as it ensures sanity and sanctity among men. it's alled 'the Lord's act'. The issue of the victims is just a simple one of Cause and Effect. Somebody or entity must be a recipient of whatever.
tolu
scarcity of resources
kainat Reply
4y1yg
Dr
?
kainat
Hello 😊
Sherwin
hello
Monde
I wanna know something
kainat
what is the meaning of scarcity of resources in microeconomics ?😢
kainat
it's mine assignment .. I have to submit it before Friday n i m much confused about it
kainat
limited in supply relative to demand
Muafue
n what about their factors ? like.. what to produce how to produce & for whom to produce
kainat
& thanks😊😊
kainat
these problems of scarcity are been face by household companies and nation at large
Muafue

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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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