<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

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 deflation
Aluko Reply
Enumerate emotional intelligence to a manager
Chinonso Reply
What about Sydney Alexander's Absorption approach in international trade?
Vibhas Reply
I need help in inflation graphs
Brandon Reply
Select inflation type, Demand pull, cost pull or anticipation 1- Select the set of data you intend on graphing i.e inflation rate of 2017, location (particular country) 2 - Select the type of measurement tool that best allows you to input the inflation data, Consumer price index is the most accurate
Jama
this is to make sure you have all the correct information, Also use should know 1- Cost pull is Aggregate Demand and Aggregate Supply AD - AS graphed 2- Demans pull is Aggregate Supply and Aggregate Demand AS - AD graphed
Jama
what is production
Imoro Reply
what is a monopolistic competition?
moniman Reply
Enumerate emotional intelligence to a manager
Chinonso
Enumerate emotional intelligence to a manager
Chinonso
who is barter
Tening Reply
exchange goods each other
Seven
what is economic
Bah
is the use of scares resources to satisfy our unlimited needs and wants
Desiderius
how many kinds of utility functions?
Sadaf
What is partnership?
Jackson
the legal association of two or more people as co-owners of a business for profit.
harmony
Would you expect the kinked demand curve to be more extreme (like a right angle) or less extreme (like a normal demand curve) if each firm in the cartel produces a near-identical product like OPEC and petroleum? What if each firm produces a somewhat different product?
James Reply
no
Sadaf
what is supply
Mizta Reply
what is opportunity cost
Mizta
The opportunity gained interms of opportunity lost is known as opportunity cost Or The second best alternative use of resources
Mir
forgone alternative: like forgoing Something our of two to buy one
Tam-Waribo
what is macro economic s
Addo Reply
macroeconomics is the study of economic as a whole level.
Gafar
meaning of positive science
Sumit Reply
positive science it is focused on facts and cause and effect and behavioural relationship and include developmental testing in economic theoreis.
Gafar
what is inflation
Sama Reply
inflation is the general price increase of goods and services in an economy.
tesfie
Inflation is the persistent rise in the general price level
T-Max
inflation is characterized by increase in the general price of goods and services. when there is too much money in circulation. increase in demand of goods pursuing fewer goods. when purchasing power of money decreases .
Ejikeme
inflation is the persistent rise general price level
Habeeb
inflation is the persistent increase in price
Machall
hi
Rafiu
yes
boston
hi
Ayaan
how are you
Ayaan
increase in the general level of price...
sade
what is deflation
Sele
is the gradual decrease of currency exchange in a country.
Gafar
why ecnomics important ? give answer plz
Saifullah
Because is a field of science study that reflects on our day to day activities with human behavior.
ANSU
why economic is a science
Imoro
Economics is referred to as a social science not a pure science. It's regarded as a social science because it makes use of the scientific method to solve problems. The scientific method refers to observation, asking questions, forming hypothesis, experimentation etc
Nkechi
Economics is a social science because it study human behavior how he relates with his daily activities with the available limited resources to satisfy his wants.
Ojo
what are the factors affecting the demand
Mohammed
yeah it uses the scientific method to study human behaviour.
Nkechi
inflation referes to the persistant increase in the general price of goods and services over a given period of time say a year.
Abdul
factors affacting Demand of good and services are 1.price of a commodity in question 2.price of related commodity 3.Income of a consumer 4.Population 5.tast and prefereance 6.Season or weather condition
Abdul
what is difference between perfect and non perfect market.
Saheed
what the difference between Trade off and Opportunity Cost?
Elzevery
answer
Golda
In trade off, you increase the amount of something by decreasing the amount of something else. For example, you use 2 hours to study and 2 hours for leisure. if you increase study hour by 1 more hour, i.e 3 hours, leisure time will decrease by 1 hour, i.e 1 hour.
harmony
In all, you would have traded off 1 hour of leisure time for 3 hours of study time. But in opportunity cost, you let something go in order to obtain something else entirely.
harmony
thanks for your idea
Elzevery
please i want help on thid question given P=$10 And TC=120+4Q2 1.find the profit maximizing level of price and quantity. 2.what will be the total profit?
Shemels
please how is substitutional effect affecting demand
Acha
if a price of a particular commodity is high people demand less ,they rather go for less one
FIDELIS
what is account
Wasif
account is an arrangement between a customer and a bank that allows the customer to play in and take out money (bank account)
Johnny
pay, not play sorry
Johnny
four effects of inflation in an economy
Acha
oil
TsendeTheRipper
decreases living standards .. decreases purchasing power.. Decreases internation competition . increases the cost of borrowing
MansoorAfghan
Inflation refers to persistent increase in the general prices of commodities.
Aluko
he asked for effects
MansoorAfghan
Low standard of living, prices of commodities will be high, devaluation of currency in the economy
Aluko
Debtors gain while creditors loses
Ojo
Hi every one
Ani
Hello
Ansah
hi
kelvin
hi
Seven
Hii
raushan
how are you all
Seven
Fin and you
raushan
me also
Seven
Whare do you live
raushan
general tendency of rising price and continuous... .
Auqib
any one among you is going to aaper in net exam day after tomorrow
Auqib
reply?
Auqib
pakistan
Seven
Oo Pakistan I am India
raushan
really from Pakistan
Auqib
ok
Seven
You noo hindi
raushan
no
Seven
hi
ken
what is deference between the producer and firm?
ISMAILI
A producer, going by its name, only makes tangible goods and services from the use of raw materials or from the ground up. Meanwhile, a firm can be a wholesale corporation can depends directly on the finished goods and services of the producer in order to resell to the market.
harmony
Okay! I got a point.. so can you give an examples Harmony?
ISMAILI
An example for the producer would be Microsoft Corporation that makes Windows Operating System for computer-making firms like Acer, Dell, Hp, etc.
harmony
Calculate the elasticity coefficient when price decrease from 60 to 50 and 40 to 30 interpret the result
Acha
Thanks for your ideas bro..
ISMAILI
My pleasure, Shabani.
harmony
hi
Habib
different between demand and quantity demand
Farhan Reply
No difference
MansoorAfghan
demand is the overall demand for it
MansoorAfghan
actually theres no difference
MansoorAfghan
quantity demanded is used in Equilibrium of d and s
MansoorAfghan
for evrything else u use deman
MansoorAfghan
the difference of it is that when demand simply denotes the willingness and a person's ability to purchase. And as against quantity demand represent the amount of an economic good or services desire by a consumer at a fixed price .☺
Gafar
how to calculate inflation
Richard Reply
Explain the factors that have led to high quantity demanded
Ogwang Reply
price of the product increase of price substitute product as people shift to cheap one
Black

Get the best Principles of economics course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Principles of economics' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask