Not a Story I Ever Expect to Read, Somehow...
links for 2009-09-15

Doug Irwin Tells Me to Calm Down

Doug Irwin:

Five questions for Douglas Irwin: Regardless of party, every president, at some point, and often for political reasons, has imposed restrictions on imports. George Bush did, Bill Clinton did, Ronald Reagan did (a lot), Jimmy Carter did, and so get the drift. With some exceptions, most of these restrictions were not too costly or too important: they usually involved small industries, and the restrictions eventually expired. So on the broad canvas of presidential trade policy, Obama’s decision is unexceptional. Of course, the timing of the administration’s action, coming off the economic crisis and increasing fears of protectionism, makes it a bit riskier than most. And China’s response could make a bad situation worse; let us hope that it is posturing for its domestic audience. Still, the disruption to world trade is significantly less than Bush’s steel safeguard action early in his term. And the administration could more than redeem itself by helping U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk bring the Doha Round to a successful conclusion.