Sunday, October 4, 2009

Free Trade Uber Alles

This is good news.  Canadian cities had been contemplating retaliatory trade restrictions as a reaction to the United States' 'Buy American' provision in the recent stimulus package.  Thankfully, they are shelving this idea.

I understand why cities (or any level of government, for that matter) would be inclined to start a trade war.  If it's all the leverage you have against a trading partner to fight their protectionist stance, maybe you've got to do it.  Unfortunately, competing protectionism will leave Americans and us poorer than if we invoked unilateral free trade policies.  Sure, it wouldn't be as good as complete, bi-lateral free trade, and, yes, it kind of sticks in one's craw when they're doing something right when other parties are not, but vindictiveness or emotional reactions are not going to help anyone.  Getting our backs up because of misguided policies in the U.S. will reap no benefit.  It will just make all of us poorer.

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