Protectionism Wins the White House
Bush Administration to Abandon Free Trade Policy
After years of rhetoric in favor of so-called free trade, Republicans and the Bush administration now appear ready to give it up.
The US will impose protectionist tariffs against steel imports, apparently to assist corporate executives who are personal acquaintances of the Bush family.
Not many reports on this subject have appeared in the USA media, but the brave Reuters news agency found some information in a Swedish periodical -- here's a summary.
The United States will impose tariffs on steel imports of up to 20 percent for a period of three years to protect hard pressed U.S. steel works, the Swedish business daily Dagens Industri reported.
``It will be protective tariffs of up to 20 percent for three years,'' the newspaper quoted Swede Ian Wachtmeister, a member of the board of directors of U.S. steel and construction group Texas Industries as saying.
The Progress Report interjects -- how interesting that the announcement comes from a private corporation representative, rather than a government official. Was the government ashamed to make such an announcement? Or perhaps the tariff decision was meant to be a secret?
U.S. President George W. Bush, who has the final say on the steel tariffs, was governor of Texas before he moved to the White House. The members of the board of Texas Industries are personal acquaintances of the Bush family, Dagens Industri said.
Some U.S. steel companies have called for protective tariffs of up to 50 percent.
In a free market, companies that cannot compete successfully will simply go out of business. By propping up a failing company artificially, the Bush administration is going against the free market, and making America less competitive internationally.
The EU Commission, the executive arm of the 15-nation European Union, has said it would have to respond to any U.S. steel tariffs, suggesting an escalation of trade conflicts between the world's two leading economic blocs.
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