Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Fair Lady

"Unfairness" can be a powerful word upon the lips of the powerful. A new Interagency Trade Enforcement Center is set to correct for the injustices of "unfair trade practices"--a phrase I confess to not fully comprehending.

Is there something non-euvoluntary about trade with foreign businesses? If the issue is on uncompensated externalities, why does China form a special class? Why not also assign this new agency the power to prosecute technological improvements as well? After all, improvements to production processes shift patterns of production and trade as surely as exchanging goods manufactured abroad.

I'm also sort of interested in the statutory authority of this agency. Unless I'm badly mistaken, tariffs and import duties and the like are controlled by Congress. The AP report is light on specifics. As soon as I get a look at the agency's charter, I will post follow-up commentary.

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?