Was free trade worth it?

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,831
Dispargum
#11
What non-tariff barriers are there to consider?
Differences in what constitutes a legal product or not. For instance China has no tradition of intellectual property rights. So a pirated copy of the latest Hollywood blockbuster would be legal in China but illegal in the US. Another example would be environmental laws. Certain chemicals are legal in China but illegal in the US. Even if we remove tariffs on trade with China, the US still reserves the right to inspect imports from China for pirated CDs, banned substances, etc. Free trade agreements not only remove tariffs, they also address these other concerns so that fewer customs inspections are necessary. One of the many concerns with Brexit is that if customs inspections are put back in place trade will slow down at the borders to the point where perishable products will spoil before reaching the end consumer.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
33,145
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#14
A mispelling of WTO.

What non-tariff barriers are there to consider?
In general, production standards. Farm produce for example, normally has limits on the amount of pesticide used, vehicles have limits on emissions and so forth. With services, there are reporting and transparency standards to adhere to, for example in banking.

One example I can think of, is that the US bans food which has a non-food component, hence Kinder Surprises are illegal in the US.
 
Jan 2010
4,374
Atlanta, Georgia USA
#17
'Free Trade' always benefits the few at the expense of the many.
I’d say it’s the reverse: we the consumers—that is, all those in the US—brenefit at the expense of those whose jobs go off-shore as a result of the end of import limitations. But new employees in new industries also benefit. Overall, trade is a great bewnefit.
 
Dec 2011
1,303
#18
'Free Trade' always benefits the few at the expense of the many.
I don't think this is fair to say, just like the opposite would not be fair to say, either. In the end, the economy is a product of a myriad of social and political processes that interact in a multitude of ways and hence, what works and what doesn't is specific to certain historical periods and spaces. "Free trade" has benefited the few at the expense of the many in the past, but it also benefited the many at the expense of the few, too. More importantly, it also benefited many at the expense of virtually no one, at times.
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,626
Australia
#19
I’d say it’s the reverse: we the consumers—that is, all those in the US—brenefit at the expense of those whose jobs go off-shore as a result of the end of import limitations. But new employees in new industries also benefit. Overall, trade is a great bewnefit.
There is no free trade agreement that has ever benefited an Australian worker. A flood of cheap imports sees manufacturing shut down and go offshore, foreign workers imported to undercut local wages, corporations avoid tax and and all their profits offshore, bio security is put at risk by imports of diseased and inferior food products......Sure the masses can buy cheap, poorly manufactured foreign crap, which is all they can afford because 'free trade' has driven wages down, but the only benefit goes to those at the big end of town and their politician mates who make the rules in their favour.
 

Similar History Discussions